he senator speaks with a rich man while ignoring the poor. Death lies at his feet with a spade.
A little devil uses a pair of bellows to blow a few devilish ideas into the senator's ears, but this idea is not original with Holbein. The picture to the left is from Das Narrenschiff (= The Ship of Fools) and shows a fool, who has dropped his fool's cap and who lets Antichrist (der Endkrist) blow into his ears with a bellows.
The picture to the right is from the same book and deals with those fools who don't return lost property to the rightful owners (»Of hym that fyndeth ought of another mannys it nat restorynge to the owner«) Once again, the devil is ready with the bellows. Or to quote the English translation: »for why the deuyll […] in his erys blowe«.
The design of the little devil is the same as for the devils at the pope's court. Holbein has presumably copied this design with horns, wings and twisted tails from Mantegna's picture of Jesus in Limbo.
Just like the pope's devils, the senator's devil has also been subjected to censorship. The picture to the left is a woodcut by Valgrisi. To the right is the same woodcut reprinted by Glissenti.
Variations: Birckmann lets Death lay his hand on the spade.
A rund tower with circling birds is added in the background.
Valvasor and Deuchar imitates Birckmann, but Hollar doesn't which probably has something to do with the fact that the senator was not among the original 30.