Sunday, September 25, 2011

Taking Apart Images - Part 7.1 - Couple Playing Cards by Israhel von Mechenem

I determined that since I had already mentioned this drawing in another post, but didn't actually pull the drawing apart, I might as well do so.  Couple Playing Cards by Israhel von Mechenem, c1500. 

I have some general, and likely irrelevant, questions about this drawing.  Where exactly were they playing cards?  What room?  It's somewhat difficult to determine from the furniture in the room.  The bench upon which the gentleman is sitting appears to be stationary and the table upon which they are playing may have been a period portable table with the ringed handle on the side that we can see and the fact that it does not 'flow' with the rest of the bench's back. I believe that the portal at the back of the drawing is leading toward the kitchen of the home, which would lead one to surmise that this was a type of 'living room'  or possibly 'dining room', but then it wouldn't make sense that they would be using a small 'card' table instead of the regular dining table.  Eventually I hope to nail these questions to the floor, but until then...

Let's start with the kitchen in the background... What exactly is this?  I am at a complete and total loss.

Pretty self-explanatory kettle on a hook just outside the kitchen.  This is what leads me to believe it might be a dining room, but who knows.

My current assumption based on other images that I've seen is that this is a fruit basket hanging on the wall as seen in Saint Luke Painting the Virgin by Derick Baegert (c1470).  I could also be a straw hat, perhaps, but I'm leaning more toward a basket.  [Edit:  Okay, I believe Sasphyria is correct.  It's a window!  The tricks our eyes play on us sometimes.  I believe I assumed it was something else was due to the perspective used in the room.  Is it coming into the room or built into the wall going out?  I think his use of perspective failed him in this part of the drawing. :D]


Just outside the kitchen is a curious piece of material hanging on a rod.  Is this a towel?  Some might argue it's her veil, but she appears to be wearing one currently.  More questions...

A quick touch on the furniture and other odds and ends before venturing into their clothing in the next part...


I love the serving pan/pot at the bottom of this drawing.  I am willing to surmise it is made of copper.[1]  I would like to find something along these lines for our encampment, mostly because I think it looks neat and would help the overall feel of the living quarters.  I have yet to find a specific name for it.  I have seen pans along these lines at hobby stores being used as cake stands.  They are normally in some version of silver (as seen below).  You'd have to flip it over, add some handles and put the feet on the bottom.  I found something that's supposed to have been from the 18th century, which is at least closer to this one (after silver stand).  Now my husband claims that the join marks on the copper pan below are indicative of the normal construction methods used in medieval period for copper pans and pots.


Her chair has a strange construction.  I don't know that I've seen many chairs made like this, but unless the representation is due to the artist's whimsy, the chair appears to have legs that are carved at roughly 135 degree angles  instead of with straight legs crossed like an X at the hinge.

Playing Cards - Eventually I want a period-esque set of playing cards.  I wonder what game they are supposed to be playing... I would hazard a guess that it was a game with tricks.


1  My husband knows way too much about the history of metals and all things that come from the ground, but then, that's what I'd hope a geologist would know. :D

2 comments:

Sasphyria said...

I think your fruit basket is a window :) this was my first thought.

Khaentlahn said...

You know what, I think you're right. Thank you!