The Waggoner

The Waggoner

T he waggoner is attacked by two Deaths. One of them rips the waggon apart, while the other loosens the barrels. The waggoner was added in the 5th edition in 1547.

One horse has already been killed, but the waggoner himself doesn't appear to be in mortal danger. This is a bit strange if you read the preface to the 1538-edition. According to this preface, the artist is dead(!), because Death wanted to prevent the artist from making more portraits of him: »[…] and thus prevented him from completing many other figures which he had already designed, especially that of the carman crushed and wounded beneath his demolished wagon, the wheels and horses of which are so frightfully overthrown that as much horror is excited in beholding their downfall, as pleasure in contemplating the lickerishness of one of the Deaths, who is clandestinely sucking with a reed the wine in a bursting cask« (translated from French by Francis Douce)

First of all, Holbein wasn't dead in 1538 (but the preface may have alluded to the woodcutter, Lützelburger), and second, Death is not sucking wine out of the casks, but is actively loosening the hoops. But the important part is that the author of this preface claims in 1538 — 9 years before the waggoner was officially added to the series — that he has seen an incomplete picture, where the waggoner lies crushed under his vehicle.

Various Artists

Holbein (1538)
Holbein 1538: Waggoner
Birckmann (1555)
Birckmann 1555: Waggoner
Chytraeus (1590)
Chytraeus 1590: Waggoner
Kieser (1617)
Kieser 1617: Waggoner
Hollar (1651)
Hollar 1651: Waggoner
Valvasor (1682)
Valvasor 1682: Waggoner
Mechel (1780)
Mechel 1780: Waggoner
Deuchar (1788)
Deuchar 1788: Waggoner
Bewick (1789)
Bewick 1789: Waggoner
Hollar (colour) (1816)
Hollar (colour) 1816: Waggoner
Pseudo-Bewick (1825)
Pseudo-Bewick 1825: Waggoner
Bechstein (1831)
Bechstein 1831: Waggoner
Schlotthauer (1832)
Schlotthauer 1832: Waggoner
Douce (1833)
Douce 1833: Waggoner
Curmer (1858)
Curmer 1858: Waggoner

Up to Holbein's great dance of death