ere is another case, where a little dialogue wouldn't be amiss. It's not entirely clear what goes on in the picture. The Bible quote above the picture is »Me & thee. Ought but death part thee and me« (freely after the Book of Ruth 1:17). Maybe this is supposed to be a line spoken by the noblewoman? In that case, Death stands just in front of them, ready to take her up on her word. Maybe the couple are the same couple that later stands next to The escutcheon of Death and now have become separated by Death?
Holbein has presumably found some inspiration in his hometown, Basel. In Basel's dance of death, the Pope is dragged away while Death plays a drum that's been tightened around his waist (picture to the left, see also Heidelberg's dance of death).
In return, Holbein's image of an energetically drumming Death has inspired the Dance of Death in Basel. The picture of Death hammering on the hermit's lantern (picture to the right) was added during a later restauration.
Variations: Birckmann shortens the man's trousers, so it almost looks like a Scottish kilt; he gives both persons
a feather in their hats and places
the hourglass in the middle of the picture.
All this is imitated by Hollar and Deuchar.
Scharffenberg has looked at Basel's dance of death (picture to the left) and has replaced the drum with a skull.