From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Ill-Matched Lovers or the Ill-Matched Couple is the visual equivalent of the trope of the senex amans found in literature such as the The Merchant's Tale, The Miller's Tale and in all AT 1423 type stories. The subject of the "grotesque marriage" is also present in the satirical literature, as in the poem The Ship of Fools by Sebastian Brant (1494), which in its 52nd chapter, tackles about the "marriage-for-money" theme. The subject is resumed, brimful of mockery and humor, by Erasmus of Rotterdam, in his The Praise of Folly (1509).
Visually it has been a popular genre since the Middle Ages, to be found in in prints and paintings by the likes of Hans Sebald Beham, Grien, the Cranachs, Matsys and Goya. Its popularity endured well into the 16th century, the time of the Renaissance.
Usually, in these kind of paintings, an old man approaches the young woman, and while she appears to be allowing him to embrace her, her hand is shrewdly reaching out for his purse.
List of examples
- Old Man Caressing a Young Woman by Hans Sebald Beham
- Ill-Matched Lovers (Quentin Matsys) by Quentin Matsys
- Ill-Matched Marriage (1525 - 1530) by a follower of Quentin Matsys, São Paulo Museum of Art.
- Dernières joies by Grien, so named in HdE, page 434
- The Ill-matched Lovers by Lucas Cranach the Elder ca. 1530s (Bernheimer-Colnaghi)