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The Organ Player and His Wife

A work made of engraving on buff laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving on buff laid paper.




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

About this artwork

Here a couple making music in a comfortable interior is an image of harmony. The wife assists the husband by working the bellows of the portative organ, and her open mouth suggests that he is accompanying her song. This is one of a series of six engravings by Meckenem showing couples engaging in music making, card playing, and other pastimes in domestic settings. The engraver elaborated on the household details with particular care, delineating a curtained bed, a built-in cupboard open to show a basin and covered cup, and an extendable table holding the organ. Above the wife’s head is a convex mirror, which was still a luxury item in 1500.


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Prints and Drawings


Israhel van Meckenem, the younger


The Organ Player and His Wife


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Engraving on buff laid paper


16.5 × 10.9 cm (6 1/2 × 4 5/16 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr.

Reference Number


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