SCHEMBART (“hiding beard”) CARNIVAL BOOK
In German, illuminated manuscript on paper
Germany, likely Nuremberg, c. 1550-1600
64 pen and ink with watercolor drawings, 22 additional pen and ink drawings
The controlled penwork of this manuscript’s full-page drawings is complemented by the boldly enlivened watercolor washes that delineate the extravagant costumes of the figures. The twenty-two drawings of the floats deserve special note, for they substantially enrich our understanding of South German drawing in the Augsburg-Nuremberg area in the second quarter of the sixteenth century. This witness of the famous Schembartlauf, a carnival parade held on Shrove Tuesday in Nuremberg from 1449 to 1539, includes sixty-four full-page illustrations of costumed figures, one from each year the carnival was held. Offering a history of changing dress over nearly a century, the watercolors portray the participants, richly dressed up in garments decorated with embroidery and ribbons, and often with bells that jingled as they ran through the streets. These drawings are the work of an experienced illustrator, who trained in the Augsburg-Nuremberg area with artists like Hans Schäufelein, Hans Sebald Beham, or Jörg Breu the Younger and who transmits the legacy of Albrecht Dürer.