Woodcuts were a means of replicating images in the thousands for quick and widespread distribution. The first half of the sixteenth century saw the circulation of more illustrated broadsheets than ever before. A common genre was the satirical drawing depicting political, religious or everyday themes – frequently vulgar. This woodcut features a lewd old peasant and his potential bed partner. The owl perched on the falconer’s glove on the peasant’s left hand is a reference to an old German proverb: “He who does not have a falcon must hunt with an owl,” meaning that one must content oneself with what’s available. The verse reads:
I spent many a day screwing / so much so that I don’t want to anymore/
If I still want to call myself a lover/
I must hunt with an owl/
Woodcut by Christoph Amberger (c. 1500-62), 1526.