Jan Victor, Market Scene with a Quack at his Stall (c. 1650)


Carnivals, trade fairs and markets regularly attracted so-called itinerants such as the “quack” pictured here. “Quack” was a pejorative term for those offering medical treatment without any professional qualification while loudly advertising their “medicines.” The fact that quacks were also itinerants only supported their reputation as a suspicious social group In the Early Modern period, when “itinerant” was a synonym for those not subject to any ruler since itinerants did not maintain a place of residency. In a society divided into a hierarchy of estates, this was considered a disadvantage, yet it also provided some freedoms – such as unrestricted mobility – which were denied the majority of the population.


Source: Szépmüvészeti Múzeum - Budapest (Hungary - Budapest), athenaeum, https://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=223927

Jan Victor, Market Scene with a Quack at his Stall (c. 1650), published in: German History Intersections, <https://germanhistory-intersections.org/en/migration/ghis:image-179> [November 29, 2023].