John L. Severance Fund 1993.161
Catalogue raisonné: Lehrs 215
The Master E. S. was the most important engraver active in northern Germany around the middle of the 1400s when, for the first time, printmakers signed their work. His representation of the garden of love departs from pictorial tradition, which usually portrayed the scene as an idyllic realm of music, feasting, and games where women inspired dedicated service from their admirers. Here, however, the Master E. S. satirized the ideals of courtly love and warned against the immoral behavior forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church and local authorities. While the woman opening the man’s coat in the foreground represents temptation and sin, her companion, the fool, symbolizes lust. One of the most important prints by the Master E. S., The Garden of Love (Large Plate) is known in only five impressions.
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