Friday, July 5, 2013

Hans Sebald Beham, A Study Part 2 - Peasant or Working Class (1518-1531, Nuremberg)


Hans Sebald Beham (or simply Sebald Beham) was a "little master" of the German Renaissance who was active about 1518 - 1550.  What I find most interesting about his artwork, at least of the pieces represented here, is his subject matter.  He had a propensity to draw what we would consider the peasant or lower classes of people in the Bavaria and Hesse regions of Germany.  There appears to have been a general lack of close-fitted tailoring, which is primarily found in upper class or noble clothing from the same time frame.  Was his subject matter due to choice or his own social class?  I've noticed that many artists of this time period escaped from the "norm" and began drawing more realistic compositions of everyday scenery and turned away from many of the religious pieces that were common.

The following images are some of the engravings which are attributed to him during his lifetime before he moved permanently to Franfurt in 1532:

Girl's Head, 1518
Peasant Couple with a Basket of Eggs, 1520

Peasant Couple, 1520

Peasant with Basket of Eggs, 1520

Peasant with a Basket of Eggs, 1520
While going over images, it took me a few minutes before I realized that the man in this piece was wearing three-fingered gloves.  From what I've noticed going through hundreds of images, three-fingered gloves aren't always that common in the Germanic research I've been doing, but obviously they were used.  This deserves a bit more research.  I love the detail in the basket.

Peasant Woman with a Goose, 1520
The bag/pouch at her hip indicates that these were worn, in roughly the same styles, by all classes of the Germanic people.  The jug on her back, while in the same style as the smaller drinking jugs that can be found at this time, is huge and could have been milk or some other liquid to sell at market?  I believe this was a copy of Sebald's 1520 piece, as the original is actually reversed and contains his early monogram and date.


Peasant Woman carrying a jug, circa 1520

Young Peasant holding a jar, circa 1520
This picture and the one previous to it are questionable to me.  While they have a lot of the same drawn elements as many of Hans Sebald Beham's other works, there is something about them that has me concerned they were attributed to the wrong artist.
Peasant Lovers, 1521

Couple of Lovers, 1522

Peasant Dancing with a New Bride, 1522
Here is another representation of the apron that is rather specific to the Germanic areas: full length, narrow to the neck, straps over both shoulders.  Usually the front and the back have the same amount of material, which leads me to believe that it wasn't relevant which way the apron was worn, both directions would suffice.

Two Street Players and a Girl, circa 1525-1532
I believe the girl on the left is wearing an apron tied at the waist.  The player in the center appears to be playing bag-pipes, while the player on the right is playing a coronet?  I'm afraid identifying the musical instruments is not my strength.

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