Meckenem the Younger, Israhel van

(c. 1450-1503)
   German engraver from Bocholt who was trained by his father, also an engraver and goldsmith. Sixteen early prints by Meckenem are in fact copies of his father's works. Meckenem is documented in Cleves in 1465 and in Bamberg in 1470, returning to Bocholt in 1480 where he was elected to the town council in 1503. A prolific engraver, he left over 600 plates, many of which provide insight into everyday life and lore. Among these are the Morris Dance (c. 1475), a form of comical acrobatic dance performed during carnival; The Lute Player and the Harpist (c. 1490), which has left a visual record of the musical instruments and costumes of the day; and The Visit to the Spinner (c. 1495), which presents a middle-class interior domestic setting. Meckenem's Self-Portrait with His Wife Ida (c. 1490) is among the earliest self-portraits in an engraving to have survived. Meckenem's style is characterized by sharp contrasts of light and dark, an emphasis on textures, and sharp contours that add visual richness to his images.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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