- The Dance of Death

Dance of Death: The Doctor

The Doctor - Woodcut by Holbein from the Dance of Death

The doctor holds out his hand to receive a urine specimen belonging to a decrepit old man at the door, but given to him by Death who seems to be challenging the doctor to cure the old man who is already in his power. A latin motto beneath the picture urges, Physician - heal thyself, suggesting that not only will the doctor fail to cure his patient, he will soon be in death's grasp himself.

It is interesting that doctors in the middle ages collected urine samples in order to diagnose disease. Even though laboratory tests were virtually unknown, the doctor of the time could still gain insights into the health of his patient from the smell and appearance of th urine sample.

The rich detail of his panel makes this illustration a little masterpiece within the larger work. Note the books and medical apparatuses in the doctor's office, as well as the traditional hat worn as a symbol of his profession.

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Holbein - the Dance of Death.

Hans Holbein

Hans Holbein

The Dance of Death

Meaning of the Dance of Death

The Dancing Mania

The Dancing Mania

Scene from the Dance of Death

Scene from the Danc of Death