MASTER of the Housebook
(active 1475-90 in Mainz)

Aristotle and Phyllis

c. 1485
Dry point, diameter 155 mm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Master of the Housebook is also known as the Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet.

Here we see the philosopher Aristotle crawling about with the lovely Phyllis on his back, watched by two other men. Aristotle, who was allegedly indifferent to female beauty, nevertheless let himself be enticed and, worse still, humiliated by a woman. The artist used various kinds of shading to achieve an extremely vivid rendering of this scene, which is based on a popular thirteenth-century tale. This print is among his most outstanding work.