The Senator
Holbein Proofs, Senator

The Senator

The Ship of Fools, Antichrist
The Ship of Fools, Antichrist
The Ship of Fools: "for why the deuyll […] in his erys blowe"
The Ship of Fools, Dishonest people

T 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«.

Valgrisi with devil.
Valgrisi, Senator
Glissenti without devil.
Glissenti, Senator

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.

Various Artists

Holbein Proofs (1526)
Holbein Proofs 1526: Senator
Holbein (1538)
Holbein 1538: Senator
Vogtherr (1544)
Vogtherr 1544: Senator
Valgrisi (1545)
Valgrisi 1545: Senator
Birckmann (1555)
Birckmann 1555: Senator
Juan de Icíar (1555)
Juan de Icíar 1555: Senator
Scharffenberg (1576)
Scharffenberg 1576: Senator
Straub (1581)
Straub 1581: Senator
Chytraeus (1590)
Chytraeus 1590: Senator
Glissenti (1596)
Glissenti 1596: Senator
Kieser (1617)
Kieser 1617: Senator
Hollar (1651?)
Hollar 1651?: Senator
Valvasor (1682)
Valvasor 1682: Senator
Mechel (1780)
Mechel 1780: Senator
Deuchar (1788)
Deuchar 1788: Senator
Bewick (1789)
Bewick 1789: Senator
Anderson (1810)
Anderson 1810: Senator
Bechstein (1831)
Bechstein 1831: Senator
Schlotthauer (1832)
Schlotthauer 1832: Senator
Douce (1833)
Douce 1833: Senator
Curmer (1858)
Curmer 1858: Senator
Douce reprint (1858)
Douce reprint 1858: Senator

Up to Holbein's great dance of death