Basel: The Preacher

The Preacher
Basel's dance of death, Preacher
Emanuel Büchel, 1773
Büchel, Preacher

The preacher is preaching, and as the watercolour by Büchel (to the right) shows, this takes place close to the charnel house. The 9 listeners are distributed among 3 clergymen (pope, cardinal and bishop), 3 nobles (emperor, empress and king) and 3 "ordinary humans" (a peasant and two undefined citizens).

This plate is signed "M.Merian fec[it]".

The text is from the Book of Daniel chapter 12:
2: »And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.«
3: »And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.«

After the restoration of the mural in 1568, the preacher got the face of the German-Swiss reformer Johannes Ökolampadius, who is dressed in a post-reformatory priestly gown (In Basel, the Reformation was ushered in in 1529).

English translation from Beck, 1852

The Preacher's Word. Daniel, ch. XII.

Many of those who sleep in dust
Shall wake again; God says they must
Arise and at His Judgment seat
Receive what for their works is meet;
Some life eternal, others grief
And endless pain without relief;
Those who are wise shall brightly shine
In heavenly light and joy divine;
And they, who many souls have taught
And wanderers back to God have brought
Shall like the stars in glory be
Made bright to all eternity.


Various Artists

Merian (1621)
Merian 1621: Preacher
Chovin (1744)
Chovin 1744: Preacher
Büchel (1773)
Büchel 1773: Preacher
Büchel (1774)
Büchel 1774: Predigerkirche
Feyerabend (1806)
Feyerabend 1806: Preacher
Beck (1852)
Beck 1852: Preacher
Stuckert (1858)
Stuckert 1858: Preacher