A young child is led away by Death even as his mother and sister cry. Nothing they do can stay the inexorable decision of Death. Notably the child is reaching out for his mother and sister, but they can offer no help. Meanwhile the grim reaper simply walks away, unmoved by the scene.
This is one of the more poignant vignettes in Holbein's dance of death and also what allows its meaning to transcend its time and place. It does not shy away from universal themes such as the injustice of a life cut short far too soon.
This panel is also interesting for is depiction of domestic life among the lower classes during the Middle Ages. The house is meagerly furnished, it bare crumbling walls. The woman has to do her cooking on an unvented fire in the middle of her hovel.
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Next: The Soldier
Holbein - the Dance of Death.