The Rich man / Miser

© The Trustees of the British Museum
Mouse over to remove letter Copyleft JMJ
Gross-Basel, the miser.
Gross-Basel, the miser
Mouse over for animation Copyleft by JMJ

Two Deaths are stealing the money (rather than the life) from the miser. Once again Holbein has looked at the dance of death in his own town. In Basel's dance of death (to the left) the usurer is sitting behind a table full of coins - as opposed to everbody else who's dancing around.

Holbein used the same motive and same bible quote in his dance of death (picture below to the left). The windows are barred - but that doesn't stop this thief!

Holbein's dance of death, the miser.
Holbein Proofs, Usurer

The accompanying text for this letter goes: »Du narr / in diser nact / werden sy dyn seel von dir vorderen / und die Ding die du hast überkomen / weß werden die syn«.

This is from Luke 12,20, which in Luther's version sounds: »Du Narr! Diese Nacht wird man deine Seele von dir fordern; und wem wird dann gehören, was du angehäuft hast? «. In English: »But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?«

Various artists

Holbein Alphabet (1524)
Holbein Alphabet 1524: Holbein: N
Tês Kainês Diathêkês (1524)
Tês Kainês Diathêkês 1524: Kainês Diathêkês: A
Wolfgang Köpphel (1526)
Wolfgang Köpphel 1526: Köpfel: N
Polydori Vergilii (1532)
Polydori Vergilii 1532: Polydori: N
Hans Schott (1536)
Hans Schott 1536: Schott: N
Hans Schott (1536)
Hans Schott 1536: Schott: N
Augsburg (1536)
Augsburg 1536: Ulhart N
Hans Schott (1537)
Hans Schott 1537: Kreüterbuch: N
Hans Schott (1537)
Hans Schott 1537: Kreüterbuch: N
Hans Schott (1537)
Hans Schott 1537: Kreüterbuch: N
Hans Schott (1545)
Hans Schott 1545: Annal Buch: N
Heinrich Lödel (1849)
Heinrich Lödel 1849: Lödel: N
Douce Alphabet (1858)
Douce Alphabet 1858: Douce: N

Up to Holbein's Dance of Death Alphabet