A young nun has admitted her lover into her apartment, who is playing a lute for her. She hesitates whether to listen to his music or devote herself to her prayers, hanging on the balance between temptation and virtue. But it is too late: death extinguishes the candles, and her life. In some ways, this vignette recalls the later motif of Death and the Maiden. It suggests that there is more at stake here than merely earthly death. If she yields, and breaks her vows, the woman will be lost spiritually.
The detail in this portrayal is very interesting and illustrative of Holbein's genius. Notice how Death is snuffing out the candle on the altar with his skeleton fingers. Meanwhile on he floor there is an overturned hourglass, a mememnto mori symbolizing the passing of time.
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Holbein - the Dance of Death.