Temptacio dyaboli de fide [The Test of Faith by the Devil], from Ars Moriendi [The Art of Dying]
circa 1470 (printed circa 1600)
19.3 cm x 14.5 cm (7 5/8 in. x 5 11/16 in.)
(German (?), active 15th century)
Europe, German (?)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
A spiritual guide to preparing for death, Ars Moriendi was one of the most popular texts of the late Middle Ages. Beginning in the Netherlands around 1465 there appeared abbreviated printed editions with eleven woodcut illustrations. This subject, the first, represents a dying man beset by demons and proffered pagan faith in the form of the column, but protected by Christ, the Virgin and a saint who appear behind the headboard. It comes from a very early Latin edition and, although a later printing, is one of only three known examples.