n the page about Heinrich Vogtherr we saw, how the two publishers Jobst and David Denecker for many years and in many towns issued the same woodcuts. First under the title »Todtentanz. Das menschlichs leben anders nicht […]« and later as »Todtentantz / Durch alle Stendt der Menschen […]«.
However, the latest editions, from 1572 and 1579, did not employ the original woodcuts by Vogtherr, but some new copies. To the right is the scene with the pope.
hese new woodcuts were re-issued two years later in 1581 by Straub in St. Gallen (picture to the left). The book has 40 framed woodcuts and the scenes are the same as in Denecker's Todtentantz. This means that they are the same 40 scenes by Holbein, that originally were published as so-called "printer's proofs" and that the astrologer is not included.
On the other hand Straub hasn't copied the two scenes that were added by Denecker / Vogtherr, namely The adulterer and The crucifixion.
The sequence is the same odd one, that was followed by Denecker, and which also hails back to the old printer's proofs. Apart from the fact that both Denecker and Straub — illogically — place the lawyer before judge.
Concerning the individual images it's a bit difficult to point out any concrete proof that Straub has copied Vogtherr's woodcuts, but very often there's a similarity in the faces (pictures to the left and right).
The text has also been copied verbatim from Jobst and David Denecker. This is true for the introduction, the debate between Death and a human, and the 40 dialogues. The only exception is — perhaps — the pope.
The pope is harder to determine because this particular dialogue varies a lot between Denecker's different editions.
|Denecker (1544)||Denecker (1548)||Straub (1581)|
Du Bapst ain warer Antichrist
Sihe Babst/ der erst du billich bist
Du Bapst hast dich in Tempel gsetzt
Der Pabst Andtwort.
Ach Todt du sagst mir gwisslich war
Ja Tod/ die warhait sagst du zwar/
Der Bapst antwortet.
Ach Todt du sagst mir gwislich war/
|Caspar Scheyt (1557)|
In tempel hast du dich gesetzt/
At the first glance, it looks as if Straub has copied Death's word to the pope (»Du Bapst hast dich in Tempel gsetzt«) from the text that Caspar Scheyt wrote in 1557 and which Birckmann used in their High German publications:
|David Denecker (1579)|
Du Papst hast dich in Tempel gsetzt
But it is hard to determine, because according to Koller,(1) David Denecker had a similar text in his 1579-edition:
|Jobst Denecker (ca. 1550)|
|Ob Du gleich trägst dreyfache Cron|
Ich deiner darumb nicht verschon,
Weil außgeloffen ist dein Stund,
So mußt du auch ins Todes bundt.
In general the text often varied. Around 1550 Jobst Denecker published yet another variant where the dialogues were replaced by 4 lines.
o it's hard to tell whether Straub has taken the pope's dialogue from Caspar Scheyt's text in Birckmanns publications or from one of Denecker's many versions. But the fact is that Straub has borrowed other elements from Birckmann.
First and foremost there's the title. Straub's title, »Todtentantz, Durch alle Stendt der Menschen, darinnen ihr herkommen und endt, nichtigkeit und sterbligkeit, als in einem spiegel zubeschawen, fürgebildet, und mit schönen Figuren und guten Reimen gezieret, […]«, is clearly copied from Birckmann, »Der Todtendantz, durch alle Stende unnd Geschlecht der Menschen, darinnen ihr herkommen und ende, nichtigkeit und sterbligkeit als in eim Spiegel zu beschawen, fürgebildet, und mit schönen Figuren gezieret«.
There are also countless details in the woodcuts that show that the cutter has taken more than a glance at Birckmann's books:
When it comes to the old man, Straub takes the third road: Vogtherr/Denecker lets the hourglass stand in the background; Birckmann places it at the open grave; while Straub has placed it in front on the wall.
Then there are Straub's own variations: In particular the king, who has been adorned by a large moustache and a turban.
ore than 100 years later, 12 of Straub's woodcuts were used for a calendar published by David Hautt in 1687.
Here is just one sample (see the external link):
Wintermonat hat XXX. Tag.
Mein Bott wir haben dich vernommen /
Ohn euch darff ich nit wol fortgahn /
This text was neither copied from Denecker nor Caspar Scheyt. It's called »Der TodtenTantz : Ein Geistliches Gesang/ wie der Todt uber alle Menschen herrschet/ und keines verschonet« and is from ca. 1650. See the external link.
Here are the 40 prints arranged in the same sequence as in Imagines Mortis:
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 Icíar (1555)
Valentin Wagner (1557)
Jiří 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 Léon Curmer (1858)
Tindall Wildridge (1887)
Erwin Koller: Totentanz. Versuch einer Textembeschreibung, 1980. Page 538.