The Innkeeper or Host (c. 1536)


This colored woodcut by Erhard Schön (ca. 1491-1536) shows an innkeeper welcoming a number of guests. The guests are illustrative of the broad spectrum of people traveling for various reasons in the Early Modern era. In the image, an apprentice, a lansquenet, a peasant and a peasant woman and a nobleman on horseback are all seeking to avail themselves of the inn’s hospitality. As indicated by the accompanying poem, the woodcut can also be interpreted as a critique of the prices charged by some innkeepers. According to the poem, the food was not all that was “strongly salted” [i.e. overpriced].



Source: Erhard Schön: der Wirt oder Gastgeb [The Innkeepter or Host], circa 1538, colored woodcut, type printing, trimmed at the lower edge, Inv.-Nr. 39,33.

© Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein Gotha, Aus dem Sammlungen der Herzog von Sachsen Coburg und Gotha'schen Stiftung für Kunst und Wissenschaft

The Innkeeper or Host (c. 1536), published in: German History Intersections, <> [December 01, 2023].