The human figures threatened by skeletons as depicted in the present lot are possibly inspired by Hans Holbein II's woodcuts of the Totentanz of circa 1536. These woodcuts remained popular throughout the 16th century. They were also copied by Sir Peter Paul Rubens in a sketchbook, sold at Christie's Amsterdam, 25 November 1991, lot. 49, now in the Rubenianum, Antwerp ( Beelden van de Dood, exhibition catalogue, Rubenianum, Antwerp, 2000). In the present composition the variety of figures embraced by Death are: an old woman, a jester, a knight, an infant and an old man.
Centre left to right: a judge(?), a noblewoman, a young woman(?) Upper left to right: an old miser, The pope, an emperor, a king and a councillor(?).