The Drunkenness of Noah



c. 1483–1495
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General Description

This print was removed from a copy of the Liber Chronicarum, which is more commonly known as the Nuremberg Chronicle after the city in which it was created in 1493. The subject comes from the Old Testament book of Genesis (9:21–23), which recounts an episode when Noah drinks too much wine and passes out naked in his tent. Upon finding him in this state, his son Ham mocks him while his other two sons, Shem and Japheth, cover his body with a garment. Here, the setting shifts from a tent to a vineyard, which symbolizes the cause of his drunken stupor. Using gestures, facial expressions, and the names of the protagonists, the printmakers masterfully evoke the narrative through minimal means. This image was originally placed at the bottom of the page, below a passage of text and an illustration of the family tree of Shem, who is often Noah’s first-mentioned son.

Excerpt from

Nicole Myers, DMA label copy, 2018.

Web Resources

  • World Digital Library
    Explore a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle from the Library of Congress's digital library.