Heise reads Gotthard von Hansen uncritically.

Summary: Part 3 of 7 about why the painting in Tallinn is not a remnant of Lübeck's original painting from 1463.

Heise's "knowledge" about the painting in Tallinn is based on one, single source: Gotthard von Hansen's "Die Kirchen und ehemaligen Klöster Revals" from 1873 (reprinted 1976). No offense against Gotthard von Hansen's book - but if Heise wants to be considered a serious scholar, how can he then base his research on a tourist guide?

Carthusian monk and mayor in Lübeck (wrong sequence).
Lübeck's dance of death, Carthusian monk and mayor

Heise assumes right away that Gotthard von Hansen has used "good, old traditions".(1) If Heise had considered it a bit, he would have realised that Gotthard von Hansen's source was the painting in Lübeck - since Gotthard von Hansen compares the Tallinn fragment with the painting in Lübeck 3 times in a row:

A much more damning evidence is the sequence of dancers that Gotthard von Hansen lists (and Heise himself quotes): "Bischof, Herzog, Abt, Ritter, Karthäuser und Bürger". This is the sequence that the painting in Lübeck had in 1873 when von Hansen wrote his book - but as pointed out in this footnote, it is only true for the copy from 1701. In the original painting from 1463 the sequence was bishop, duke, abbot, knight, Chartusian, nobleman, canon and mayor. This leaves two possibilities:

  1. Gotthard von Hansen has guessed the sequence - based on the painting in Lübeck.
  2. Gotthard von Hansen is right: The sequence in Tallinn is different from the original sequence in Lübeck, but then it follows that we are dealing with two different paintings.

Conclusion: Heise bases his hypothesis on a tourist guide that gives erroneous information. Even if the tourist guide was correct, it would disprove Heise's hypothesis.

Next section: Heise "quotes" Mantels

Footnotes: (1) (2)

Heise: "So hat sich auch schon G. v. Hansen entschieden, der offenbar noch auf guter alter Überlieferung fußen konnte" (p. 191).
Gotthard von Hansen: "Dieses Bild gleicht im wesentlichen dem Totentanz in der Marienkirche zu Lübeck vom Jahre 1463, jedoch mit selbstständigen Zuthaten, wie z. B. der Prediger auf der Kanzel. Auch trägt der den Papst führende Tod gerade wie in Lübeck einen Totenschrein auf der Schulter".

"Hier fehlt nun mancher Stand und auch die verschiedenen Altersstufen sind nicht vorhanden, während in Lübeck 24 Bilder vorgeführt werden" (pp. 39-40).


Up to Heise's hypothesis