About This Artwork

Israhel van Meckenem
German, c. 1440/45-1503

The Morris Dancers, n.d.

Engraving in black on ivory laid paper
172 x 172 mm (plate/sheet)

Clarence Buckingham Collection, 1936.174

The Morris Dance is a folk dance still practiced in England today. Here the roundel shape of Meckenem’s engraving echoes the pattern of the cavorting dancers, as they encircle a young woman holding a ring. The poses are intentionally exaggerated, especially that of the fool at left. The dance, which may have originated in medieval Spain, was a popular court spectacle, as the merry throng of onlookers at the window suggests.

Interpretive Resources

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