Basel: The Painter

The Painter
Basel's dance of death, The painter

Todt zum Maler:
HAns Hug Klauber laß Malen stohn,
   Wir wöllen auch jetztmals darvon:
Dein Kunst, Müh, Arbeit hilfft dich nit,
   Wann es geht dir wie ander Leut:
Hastu schon grewlich g'macht mein Leib,
   Wirst auch so g'stalt mit Kind vnd Weib:
Hab GOTT vor Augen allezeit,
   Wirff Bensel hin sampt dem Richtscheit.

Death to the Painter
Hans Hug Klauber, let the painting stand;
We will also away from here now.
Your art, trouble and work doesn't help you,
because it will happen to you like the others.
Even if you have portrayed me terribly,
you will soon have the same shape - with child and wife.
Always keep God in sight,
throw the brush away, and also the straight edge.

Der Maler
MEin GOtt du wöllest bey mir stohn,
   Dieweil ich auch muß jetzt darvon:
Mein Seel befehl ich in dein Händ,
   Wann die Stund kompt zu meinem End:
Vnd der Todt mir mein Seel außtreibt.
   Verhoff doch mein Gedächtnuß bleibt,
So lang man diß Werck haltet schon:
   Behüt euch GOtt ich fahr darvon.

The Painter.
My God, would you please stand by me,
since I must also away from here now.
My soul I commend in your hands
when the hour comes for my end,
and Death drives out my soul.
Yet I hope the memory of me will stay,
as long as people are fond of this work.
God save you, I'm traveling away.
In Bern's dance of death, the painter is interrupted while working.
Bern's dance of death. The painter is interrupted by Death
Frölich / Scharffenberg.
The painter Hans Kluber and his family.
Scharffenberg, Painter

The painter Hans Kluber made an extensive renovation of the mural in 1568, and he made a large number of changes. One of these was that he added himself in a modern Spanish dress along with his wife and son.

The idea with the painter adding himself is probably one Hans Klauber took from Bern's dance of death (picture to the left). One might wonder how Kluber could shamelessly call himself the painter, since all he had done was to renovate the mural, which at this time was more than 100 years old. This is yet another indication of just how extensive the changes he made to the mural were.

Concerning the picture's position and the picture's longevity, see the pages about the painter's wife and son and Adam & Eve in Paradise.

In Frölichs book (picture to the right), the painter is reproduced along with his family. According to the plaque at the bottom, Klauber died in 1578, and Frölich puts two lines more into the painter's mouth, that Merian doesn't have:

Unnd ihr meine Gesellen nun
Wollen mir bald nachfolgen thun.
And you my journeymen, now
shall soon follow after me.

English translation from Beck, 1852
Death to the Painter.The Painters reply.

Now John Hugh Klauber, cease to paint,
On other matters now we're bent;
Your skill and labour all are vain
When you are called like other men
In frightful lines my form you've shewn.
'T will be your wife's your child's your own;
Keep God alone before your eye
And brush and straight-edge now let lye.

O God, I pray thee stand by me,
Since I too from this world must flee;
To thy hand I my soul commend,
When comes the hour my life must end
And Death my soul from body drive;
I hope my memory may survive
So long this work its tale shall tell.
God bless you all! I'm off, farewell.


Various Artists

Scharffenberg (1576)
Scharffenberg 1576: Painter
Merian (1621)
Merian 1621: Painter
Chovin (1744)
Chovin 1744: Painter
Feyerabend (1806)
Feyerabend 1806: Painter
Hess (1841)
Hess 1841: Painter
Beck (1852)
Beck 1852: Painter
Stuckert (1858)
Stuckert 1858: Painter
Curmer (1858)
Curmer 1858: Painter