Jun 15, 2006

Peasant Couple Dancing

Peasant Couple Dancing


Albrecht Dürer

(German, 1471–1528)


Sheet: 11.8 x 7.3 cm (4 5/8 x 2 7/8 in.)

Gift of Charlotte Trenkamp in memory of Henry Trenkamp, Jr. 1993.190

Catalogue raisonné: Meder 88



Since the 1400s, scenes of country peasants celebrating and dancing were common in northern art; such images often pictured the rural classes as rowdy, uncivilized, and prone to indulgence. In contrast, Dürer presented the country folk displayed here as monumental figures in extraordinary detail, thus elevating the subject. Dürer’s depictions are commentaries on social order and demonstrate his interests in humanity as well as the study of human proportion. Even though the role of gender in Dürer’s peasant scenes is scarcely discussed, he clearly locates the woman as the focal point of this engraving. As her companion hollers and waves his arm in reckless abandon, the stout woman appears deliberate in her movements. She gazes assertively at the viewer while drawing attention to the keys, purse, and knife at her waist—symbols of authority and power.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 

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