HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger
(b. 1497, Augsburg, d. 1543, London)

Folly Steps Down from the Pulpit

Pen and black ink
Kupferstichkabinett, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

The picture shows a margin drawing from Erasmus's The Praise of Folly (fol. X4, quarto).

Spellbound and stunned by Folly's oratory, the audience sits open-mouthed in front of the pulpit, from which the woman in the fool's cap is already stepping down. In the accompanying text, Folly says: "If you think I speak too boldly and too much, remember that I am Folly, and a woman... I see you're waiting for a last word, but you're indeed fools if you think I can still remember what I said, for I have poured an almighty babble of words upon you... So indulge yourselves, clap a bit of applause, be off and have a drink, all you highly esteemed disciples of Folly!"

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.