Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, with traces of black chalk
Watermarks: Wheel, similar to Briquet, 1923, no. 13389
Support: Cream(3) laid paper
Sheet: 23 x 19.3 cm (9 1/16 x 7 5/8 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1956.40
The simple background and lack of landscape detail in this drawing suggest that the image may have been a model for a tapestry or other textile.
This mysterious drawing shows an encounter between elegantly dressed members of the noble class. The French inscription above the image suggests that the woman is addressing her suitors and makes it clear that they are concerned with the pursuit of love: He who will conquer my love / This [barrier] must overcome / Neither destroying it nor loosening it / Going neither below it nor above. The style of the clothing reflects French court fashions during the reign of Charles VIII (1483–98), and the subject relates to the tradition of late medieval collections of love riddles that involved verbal exchanges between courtly ladies and gentlemen.
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