Tangent: The Ideal Wife of 1525

· 06 August 2018 ·

In or about 1525, a German artist named Anton Woensam produced the original broadsheet of this woman, which Cornelis Theunissen used later as the model for his woodcut of the couple shown in the main post.

Some model.

Click on the image to enlarge it. It’s a big file, but I wanted to be sure you could read the words.

I photoshopped the English annotations in place of Woensam’s German. I had help with the translations (okay, I had a lot of help). The rhymes are gone, but at least you can read the things.

Woensam’s broadsheet calls this hapless soul ein weyse Frawen, ‘a wise woman’. As a sometime translator I would suggest ‘an ideal wife’ instead. It’s less literal, but it more accurately signifies the ethos of the artist and his like-minded Brüder. Also, speaking Platonically, we know that ideals are not obtainable in the real world.