Füssen, The painter

The painter
Hiebeler, Painter

Death to the painter

    der todt.
Jacob hiebeler laß daß mahlen stohn,
Wirff bensel hin du muest daruon.
Hast du schon grewlich gmachtt mein leib,
Tantz hehr, muest mir ietz werden gleich.

    Death.
Jacob Hiebeler, let the painting stand,
Throw away the brush, you must go away.
Even if you have portrayed me terribly,
Dance here, you must now be like me.

The painter

    der mahler.
Ich hab gemaltt den todtten tantz,
Mueß auch in spil, sonst werß nit gantz.
Ietz ist daß mein verdientter lohn,
Kompt allhernach ich mueß daruon.

    the Painter.
I have painted the dance of death.
I must also into the play, otherwise it wouldn't be complete.
This is now my deserved wages,
Come all after me. I must go away.

Basel: painter
Merian, Painter
Bern: painter
Bern's dødedans. Maleren afbrydes af Døden

The dance ends with Death interrupting the painter in his work — like it happens in Basel and Bern. To the right of the painter stands his son/assistant grinding pigments for the paint, just like the little Death does in Basel (to the left).

Death's first three lines are taken from Basel:

Basel: Death to the painter

Ans Hug Klauber laß Malen stohn,
Wir wöllen auch jetztmals darvon:
[…]
Hastu schon grewlich g'macht mein Leib,
[…]
Wirff Bensel hin sampt dem Richtscheit.

Death's last line, »Tantz hehr, muest mir ietz werden gleich«, is reminiscent of the prince-elector's line (which was copied after Basel's duke): »Ietzund wierd Ich meim tantzer gleich«. This "patchwork" has partially failed, since "leib" does not rhyme with "gleich".

Jacob Hiebeler changes Hans Hug Klauber's name to his own, and thus signs the painting: »Ich hab gemaltt den todtten tantz«.

The painter's following remark that the play wouldn't be complete without him, is reminiscent of Death's words to the musician in Basel:

Basel: Death to the musician

Mein Kirbehans, Spiel wär nicht gantz,
Wärst du auch nicht an diesem Tantz.

my carnival-Hans. The play wouldn't be complete
if you too were not in this dance.

Come all after me. Death's saying

Allehernach ist mein sprich wort
 Allehernach

The last person in the dance, the painter, ends by urging everyone else to follow:: »Come all after me«. The speech of the first dancer, the Pope, ends with the exact same words.

The German word "hernach" means "hereafter". Originally it meant "the next in a sequence", e.g. the preacher who finishes the dance is called: der prediger hie her nach.

Usually it is Death who calls people to follow in the dance: To the princess: »Nur sprengt hernach der tantz ist mein«; the empress in Basel: »Springen hernach, der Tantz ist mein«; the armour-bearer from Doten dantz mit figuren: »Kum her nach du wapendreger« and the maid from the same dance: »Kummet her nach ich uch nü lere«; the mayor im Kienzheim: »Die gemein wurt vch har noch gan«; the usurer's heir in Kleve: »Uolge ock her na des wokeners erue«; and the craftsman in Northern Bohemia: »darumb get her nach meinem trit«

M · G · W · All · Hernach · 1502
All hernach

Here in Füssen, it is not Death but the pope and the painter who call people to the dance, and they encourage everyone: »Kompt allhernach«.

In fact, "allhernach" was a well-known motto on epitaphs and tombstones. Sometimes the word could stand completely alone. Elector and Cardinal Albrecht von Brandenburg had a graveslab made for himself in the cathedral in Mainz, where on three sides is written "ALL HERNACH".

The book to the right is by Albrecht von Eyb (1420-1475) and the poem begins: »DEr dot bin ich ein gemeiner mordt / Allehernach ist mein sprich wort« (I am Death; a common murderer, "Allehernach" is my saying").

The book on the left ends with a kind of "Death's coat of arms" and the text scroll: "M · G · W · All · Hernach · 1502".(1)

It should be added that later "hernach" also took on the meaning "subsequent in time" — i.e. "from now on". This can be seen in the new text in Lübeck from 1701: the physician: »Was findet man hernach von beyden?« and the child: »Und schlaf hernach getrost« and lijewise in Erfurt: the children and the physician. But that's another story.

Footnotes: (1)

The meaning of "MGW" is unknown. It has been suggested that it might be the initials of the unknown artist, or that "MGW" was a term related to "All Hernach" (e.g.: "Morgen Gehen Wir" or "Mit Gott Wir All Hernach").

Both of these suggestions are wrong, however, because in 1514 the remains of the edition were republished with a new frontispiece (and with 4 extra pages). This new frontispiece contained the same three letters.

As it is clearly not the same artist, it cannot have been his initials, and since "all hernach" was not written on this frontispiece, "MGW" has nothing to do with the motto.