his picture in particular shows clearly, how Holbein deviates from the earlier monumental dances of death.
First of all, the action takes place on the open sea — far away from the other "dancers" — as opposed to the dances in Lübeck, Berlin, Paris, London and Tallinn, that are chain dances.
Second, Death is no longer a messenger who simply announces the case of death. Death is an active player, who breaks the mast and thus causes the death of the sailors.
The peculiar way of showing convoluted and curly waves is typical of Holbein. We see the same waves in his illustration of Exodus 14-15 (to the right). Holbein does the same thing with smoke.
Variations: In Birckmann's picture, a man jumps overboard onto some sort of raft, where Death has placed his hourglass. Valvasor and Deuchar copy Birckmann.