Pope and clerics

Pope and clerics
Pope and clergy
Placement in the painting
Der Statthalter auf der Erden,
Muß dem Tod zu theil auch werden.

The pope is sitting on his throne surrounded by cardinal and bishop. On the steps below is written:

Der Statthalter auf der Erden
Muss dem Tod zu Theil auch werden.

The governor on Earth
must also be given to Death.

The text is from "Besonders meubliert- und gezierte Todten-Capelle" (picture to the right), from a chapter about Aaron, Moses' brother and the first high priest ever.

Holbein: Pope
Holbein Proofs, Pope

The kneeling Death hands a petition on which it is written: »Schloss bref for 89 Aar«. A Schlossbrief (German for "castle letter") is a document proving that a person is entitled to a certain castle, but there is no explanation as to why it is for exactly 89 years.

Most of the scene is taken from Holbein's pope (picture to the left): The Pope is about to crown an emperor who kisses his feet; Death sneaks up behind the Pope, while another Death stands behind the Cardinal.

The slightly puzzled bishop, who is gently but firmly lead away by Death, may be a free interpretation of Holbein's bishop. Death wears a bishop's mitre, as he does with Holbein's abbot, while the lantern in Death's hand is from Holbein's priest.