Leyden Variations – German Style
These women are all wearing a germanic style dress and I’m not sure whether they represent something that was actually being worn in Leyden, or whether Lucas van Leyden was emulating the style of Albrecht Durer. I think it is more likely to be an emulation of Durer’s style as van Leyden was an admirer of Durer’s work. However the third figure is intriguing. She is a patient at a Dentist’s stall, not necessarily the subject of a work that is an emulation of another artist’s style rather something that might have been produced as a character study. The fact that it was completed in 1523 adds another dimension to the analysis of the image. Durer travelled around the Low Countries in 1521 and 1522, and was the guest and companion of Lucas van Leyden during this time,
The second woman is obviously poor as she has no shoes on in the original print. However this is also a biblical scene so the bare feet could represent something else. Again I am unsure whether this print was influenced by Durer or Dutch fashions.
The first woman is representing the devil and it is interesting that she is the first figure that van Leyden drew that was wearing a bodice similar to some German styles of the late 1400s. The dress itself is gorgeous and I think it might have to be a future project, although probably as a Germanic dress rather than a Dutch one. The cap would be quite useful. Without the horns of course.
The most conclusive thing that can be said about this style of dress and the probability of it being worn in Leyden is that “it might have been”. I’m not going to completely rule it out, however I also think it unlikely. Which side of the fence you will sit on is your decision.