Apr 28, 2022 - Sale 2602

Sale 2602 - Lot 62

Price Realized: $ 20,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 8,000
The Wedding of Mopsus and Nisa (The Dirty Bride).

Engraving, 1570. 223x289 mm; 9x11 1/2 inches, narrow margins. Second state (of 5), with the address of Hieronymus Cock (additionally with the inscription "Heronimo Koko excuto" by an early hand in ink, lower left recto). Engraved by Pieter van der Heyden. Indiscernible sphere (?) watermark. A superb, early, richly-inked impression of this very scarce engraving, with strong contrasts and no sign of wear.

According to Bassens and Van Grieken, this scene is based on an early Shrove Tuesday play and can also be seen in Bruegel's popular 1559 oil painting The Battle between Carnaval and Lent. They note, "Sixteenth century folk culture included an extensive repertoire of popular games and plays performed in the period around Shrove Tuesday. The subject matter often related to the 'driving out' or 'fleeing' of winter. For the most part, it is hard to work out nowadays precisely how these plays were performed, and we are equally ignorant as to their content, since a great many of the texts have failed to survive. The story of The Dirty Bride ('Vuyl Bruyt') seems to hark back to an earlier variation, in which a 'vuyle druyt' or 'dirty vagrant' personifying winter was driven out of a hedge to herald spring. Over time, the figure changed sex, until spring was announced by the first call of the cuckoo and the dirty bride leaving her ramshackle home." Hollstein 80; Bastelaer 216; Lebeer 80; Bassens and Van Grieken 22.