Heinrich Aldegrever

Adam and Eve (1540)
Aldegrever: Adam and Eve

T he first person to copy Holbein's dance of death was Heinrich Aldegrever — a pupil of Albrecht Drer. As early as 1540 — only 2 years efter the publishing of Les Simulachres — Aldegrever published his series about the Life of Adam and Eve, where the picture of Eve's creation (to the right) obviously was copied after Holbein.

The very next year, in 1541, Aldegrever published a dance of death — Die Macht des Todes — with 8 pictures i.e. 4 scenes from The Old Testament and 4 ecclesiastics. Aldegrever doesn't decidedly copy Holbein, but it is apparent that his dance of death is very much inspired by Holbein.

The engravings can be seen in detailed enlargements at the Virtual Copperplate-cabinet (see external link below) The pictures are quite small — less than 7 cm. tall, but full of details. The handcraft is masterly, and it's a pleasure to enjoy the lines in the drawings.

The publisher of Eberhard Kieser evidently also liked Aldegrever. Kieser's version of the dance of death is a close copy of Holbein without many deviations, but in those 8 cases, where he has had a choice between Holbein's original woodcuts and Aldegrever's copies, he has in 7 cases chosen to copy Aldegrever instead of Holbein.

External link

The Creation
Aldegrever 1540: The Creation
The Creation
Aldegrever 1541: The Creation
The Fall of man
Aldegrever 1541: The Fall of man
The Expulsion
Aldegrever 1541: The Expulsion
After the Fall
Aldegrever 1541: After the Fall
Aldegrever 1541: Pope
Aldegrever 1541: Cardinal
Aldegrever 1541: Bishop
Aldegrever 1541: Abbot

Other interpreters of Holbein's dance of death


Hans Holbein (1526) - so-called proofs
Hans Holbein (1538) - the originals
→ Heinrich Aldegrever (1541) ←
Heinrich Vogtherr (1544)
Vincenzo Valgrisi (1545)
Arnold Birckmann (1555)
Juan de Icar (1555)
Valentin Wagner (1557)
Jiř Melantrich (1563)
Georg Scharffenberg (1576)
Leonhart Straub (1581)
David Chytraeus (1590)
Peter Paul Rubens (ca. 1590)
Fabio Glissenti (1596)
Eberhard Kieser (1617)
Rudolf and Conrad Meyer (1650)
Wenceslaus Hollar (1651)
De doodt vermaskert (1654)
Thomas Neale (1657)
Johann Weichard von Valvasor (1682)
Erbaulicher Sterb-Spiegel (1704)
Salomon van Rusting (1707)
T. Nieuhoff Piccard (1720)
Christian de Mechel (1780)
David Deuchar (1788)
John Bewick (1789)
Alexander Anderson (1810)
Wenceslaus Hollar (1816)
"Mr. Bewick" (1825)
Ludwig Bechstein (1831)
Joseph Schlotthauer (1832)
Francis Douce (1833)
Carl Helmuth (1836)
Francis Douce (1858, 2. edition)
Henri Lon Curmer (1858)
Tindall Wildridge (1887)
Thy Grief (2022)