ZEITBLOM, Bartholome
(b. ca. 1457, Nördlingen, d. ca. 1520, Ulm)

Double Portrait of an Engaged Couple

Oil on panel, 45 x 55 cm
Private collection

Two lovers are represented in separate special planes, divided by a wall and window depicted with a primitive naturalism. Fra Filippo Lippi's celebrated Portrait of a Man and Woman in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, dated to around 1440, follows a similar pictorial device. These two conjugal portraits emerge from a tradition of extensive commentary on the Song of Songs, particularly verse 2:9: "Behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice." The Song of Songs, unique in its celebration of sexual love, is the most heavily interpreted of all the books in Scripture, and it became the basis for a rich imagery of love in Medieval and Renaissance literature and art.

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