Height: 360.000 mm
Width: 1140.000 mm
Gift of William Mitchell
PD 1895-1-22-303 (Bartsch 168; Pauli 1245)
Prints and Drawings
Sebald Beham, Large Church Festival, a woodcut
Signed and dated AD 1535
Drunkenness, lust, theft and disorder
Church festivals were the only holidays (literally, holy days) that peasants at this time normally enjoyed. The Nuremberg city council seems to have regarded them with alarm: The authorities tried to reduce their number in 1525, and ban them in 1526, for reasons made very clear on this woodcut.
On the far left, wine or beer is being drawn from barrels sheltered from the sun. A drunk vomits in front of the tavern. Wine leads to both lust and violence. Two chickens copulate in front of the wedding procession. Embracing couples are everywhere to be seen, including inside the tavern. In front of the church, a patient having a tooth drawn by the dentist is also losing his purse to a thief. On the upper right, a quarrel has escalated into armed violence, and a severed hand lies on the ground.
G. Bartrum, German Renaissance prints, 149, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
D. Landau and P. Parshall, The Renaissance print 1470-155 (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1994)