Monk into the swim of things at German saleroom

Image from the 15th century illustrated account of Leben der Heiligen Altväter sold for €115,000 (£99,140) at Venator & Hanstein.

Bought by a German collector for €115,000 (£99,140), a 15th century illustrated account of Leben der Heiligen Altväter, or ‘Lives of the Holy Fathers’, catalogued as the work of the (Pseudo-) Hieronymous in a March 29 sale at Venator & Hanstein (23% buyer’s premium) of Cologne was a great rarity.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

A profusely illustrated work, containing some 150 coloured cuts in all, it was printed in Strasbourg c.1482 and was said by the auction house to be the first copy seen on the market since the end of the Second World War.

The rather puzzling woodcut shown here was selected by the saleroom to feature on the cover of the sale catalogue, and without wishing to be in any way disrespectful, there does seem to be an unintentionally comic side to this image to modern eyes – something that would certainly get attention.

While the lady has only her headdress and long blond hair to maintain her modesty, her tonsured male companion seems to be wearing a very modern-looking pair of swimming trunks as they are borne across the water by animals whose species I cannot determine.