The Monk

© The Trustees of the British Museum
Mouse over to remove letter Copyleft JMJ
The Holbein Dagger: The protesting monk.
Holbein Dagger
Mouse over for animation Copyleft by JMJ

The monk is dragged away - screaming and protesting - in contrast to the nun (letter Q). Holbein probably found inspiration for the protesting monk in his earlier work, the Holbein Dagger (picture to the left).

If you're wondering why the monk is protesting so violently, then take a look at Holbein's great dance of death (picture below to the right).

Holbein's dance of death, the monk
Holbein Proofs, Monk

The accompanying text for this letter goes: »Aber ir werden sterben wie die menschen vnnd werdt fallen wie eyner von den fürsten.«.

This is from Psalms 82,7 which in Luther's version sounds: »aber ihr werdet sterben wie Menschen und wie ein Tyrann zugrunde gehen.«. In English: »But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.«.

Various artists

Holbein Alphabet (1524)
Holbein Alphabet 1524: Holbein: O
Wolfgang Köpphel (1526)
Wolfgang Köpphel 1526: Köpfel: O
Polydori Vergilii (1532)
Polydori Vergilii 1532: Polydori: O
Hans Schott (1536)
Hans Schott 1536: Schott: O
Hans Schott (1537)
Hans Schott 1537: Kreüterbuch: O
Hans Schott (1537)
Hans Schott 1537: Kreüterbuch: O
Hans Schott (1540)
Hans Schott 1540: Alchoran: O
Froschauer (1544)
Froschauer 1544: Biblia sacrosancta: O
Hans Schott (1545)
Hans Schott 1545: Dennmaerckische: O
Heinrich Lödel (1849)
Heinrich Lödel 1849: Lödel: O
Douce Alphabet (1858)
Douce Alphabet 1858: Douce: O