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.