Skip to Content
Closed today, next open Thursday. Closed today, next open Thursday.

Ornament With Flower and Eight Wild Folk

A work made of engraving in black on cream laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of engraving in black on cream laid paper.




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

About this artwork

Ornament prints with mischievous tiny figures were in such demand in late-15th- and early-16th-century Europe that engravers like Israhel van Meckenem frequently borrowed imagery and entire compositions from other artists. The flower stalk that the naked wild men and women scale comes from a print by an earlier artist, the Master E. S. This print bears an inscription that translates to “The noble bees draw honey from the beautiful flower; from this one however, the frivolous vermin extract a stronger potion.” The ripe blossom thus symbolizes sexual consummation, and the print simultaneously tempts and warns the viewer about “the birds and bees.”


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Israhel van Meckenem, the younger


Ornament With Flower and Eight Wild Folk


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 in black on cream laid paper


20.5 × 13.6 cm (8 1/8 × 5 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr.

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions