In the foreground, from left to right, there are a bishop, Jesuit, the devil in the guise of a salamander, a pope and monk. All are trying to blow out the candle in the centre of the composition. The figures on the opposite side of the table all played a crucial role in the Protestant Reformation. The candle is positioned on the gospel and symbolises that the Reformation brought it back to the light.
This composition relates very closely to a picture in the Catharijne Convent, Utrecht. Both paintings are painted after a caricature print of which there are several versions. The present lot relates closely to the engraving in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, by Hugo Allard, except for the figures in the foreground, in which there are only a cardinal, the devil, a pope and monk.