"On the Training of Children."

Yes, those were the good old days, before violent video games . . .

This cautionary woodcut by Albrecht Durer is one of many used to illustrate Sebastian Brant's Ship of Fools (1494), an excellent example of a popular medieval genre which "describes the world and its human inhabitants as a vessel whose deranged passengers neither know nor care where they are going":

In 1494, humanist Sebastian Brant published Das Narrenschiff, or The Ship of Fools, a long, moralistic poem written in the German language. Born in Strasbourg, Germany circa 1457, Brant earned degrees in philosopy and law at the University of Basel, then continued there as a lecturer. He wrote a law textbook and several poems prior to Das Narrenschiff, as well as editing books and broadsides for local printers. . . .

In Das Narrenschiff, Brant describes 110 assorted follies and vices, each undertaken by a different fool, devoting chapters to such offenses as Arrogance Toward God, Marrying for Money, and Noise in Church. Some of the chapters are united by the common theme of a ship which will bear the assembled fools to Narragonia, the island of fools. Das Narrenschiff proved so popular that it went through multiple editions, and was translated into Latin, French, English, Dutch, and Low German.

Brant's message was enhanced by a set of stunning woodcuts, most of them believed to have been carved by a young Albrecht Dürer during a short stay in Basel in 1494. Each woodcut illustrates a chapter from Das Narrenschiff, giving either a literal or allegorical interpretation of that particular sin or vice. Most of them feature a fool in a foolscap decorated with bells engaging in the activity being ridiculed. Dürer's detailed backgrounds show interiors furnished with slanted desks and diamond-paned windows, and hilly landscapes dotted with rocks and plants. Additional woodcuts are the work of the Haintz-Nar-Meister, the Gnad-Her-Meister, and two anonymous artists.

The work can be seen in its entirety at the Stultifera Navis web site, created by Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.

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Oh, these are lovely! Some seem to be repeated images, though, and many are a bit hard for me to connect with the stated theme. Nonetheless an astounding link.
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