Monogrammist AI: The rich man and Death (1553)


(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A print by an anonymous artist with the notname 'Monogrammist AI' (named after the monogram on the print). This print is an allegory of the transience of human life. A rich man is surrounded by money, jewels etc but death is already on his way. The entire print refers to Luke 12:18-21

18. “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.
19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

The text at the top is Luke 12:20. The story is a warning against pursuing earthly wealth (earthly wealth is temporarily while divine wealth is eternal). Print from 1553.

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