Tangent: The Ideal Wife of 1525

Banner - detail German - ideal wife woodcut Woensam

06 August 2018

Around 1525, a German artist named Anton Woensam created this image of a woman, which Cornelis Theunissen used later as the model for his woodcut of the Dutch 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.

Wise Woman full size English translation - ideal wife woodcut WoensamI 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.