National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS


The Housebook Master
Middle Rhenish, active c. 1465/1500
Mercury and His Children, from The Housebook, 1475-1485
pen and ink with watercolor and metal leaf
Collection of the Princes of Waldburg-Wolfegg


detail images

Planets: Mercury

Mercury is mounted on his horse with the signs for Gemini and Virgo beside him. Below, his industrious children pursue their professions. Mercury rules painters, sculptors, and goldsmiths, other artisans such as organ builders and clockmakers, and teachers. The vignettes of the painter with his affectionate muse, the sculptor's wife offering a cup to his apprentice, and the naughty student being spanked are unusual in the art of this period but typify the Housebook Master's humorous observations on daily life.

Related Works
1. The Housebook Master (?), Spinning Wheel
2. German, Chamber Clock
3. Israhel van Meckenem, The Organ Player and His Wife
4. The Housebook Master (?), Panorama of Mining
5. German, Censer
6. Martin Schongauer, A Censer
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