The Cardinal
Holbein Proofs, Cardinal

The Cardinal

T he cardinal is about sell a letter of indulgence to a man, who's brought a chest full of money. Death has placed the hourglass on the Cardinal's armrest and now grabs the cardinal's hat and turns it around.

Some commentators believe that it's a not a letter of indulgence, but that the cardinal has just received his appointment from the Vatican. However, the Bible quote above the picture supports the first interpretation — Esajas 5,23: »[Woe unto them] Which justify the wicked for reward.«

The picture is framed by grapevines and bunches of grapes to remind us that true forgiveness of sins is only possible through Jesus' blood.

Variations: Aldegrever as usually makes a free interpretation and Eberhard Kieser copies Aldegrever.
Birckmann adds an espalier for the grapevine, but removes the money box.
Chytraeus is the only copyist who copies Birckmann's espalier.
Valvasor copies Birckmann - including the mistake with the missing money box, the carving of the chair and the angle of Death's arm, but he moves the scene in front of a stately house without grapes.
For unknown reasons, Mechel moves the scene indoor without grapes.
Bewick and Anderson repeats (strangely enough) Birckmann's error with the missing money box. Anderson puts a coin in the cardinal's hand (as payment for the letter of indulgence?).

Various Artists

Holbein Proofs (1526)
Holbein Proofs 1526: Cardinal
Holbein (1538)
Holbein 1538: Cardinal
Aldegrever (1541)
Aldegrever 1541: Cardinal
Vogtherr (1544)
Vogtherr 1544: Cardinal
Birckmann (1555)
Birckmann 1555: Cardinal
Juan de Icíar (1555)
Juan de Icíar 1555: Cardinal
Straub (1581)
Straub 1581: Cardinal
Chytraeus (1590)
Chytraeus 1590: Cardinal
Glissenti (1596)
Glissenti 1596: Cardinal
Kieser (1617)
Kieser 1617: Cardinal
Hollar (1651)
Hollar 1651: Cardinal
Thomas Neale (1657)
Thomas Neale 1657: Cardinal
Valvasor (1682)
Valvasor 1682: Cardinal
Mechel (1780)
Mechel 1780: Cardinal
Deuchar (1788)
Deuchar 1788: Cardinal
Bewick (1789)
Bewick 1789: Cardinal
Anderson (1810)
Anderson 1810: Cardinal
Bechstein (1831)
Bechstein 1831: Cardinal
Schlotthauer (1832)
Schlotthauer 1832: Cardinal
Douce (1833)
Douce 1833: Cardinal
Curmer (1858)
Curmer 1858: Cardinal

Up to Holbein's great dance of death