This satirical, mocking image pillories dissolute monks. The monk in the center is being led by the nose by the allegorical female figures of Pride, Lust, and Avarice. A peasant in torn clothing in front of him is forcing the Holy Scriptures violently into his mouth—literally “feeding him the teachings.” He is encouraged by the enraged personification of Poverty.


  • Title: Allegory of the Monkhood
  • Creator: Hans Sebald Beham
  • Date Created: 1521
  • Physical Dimensions: 9.5 × 16.2 cm
  • Technique and Material: Woodcut
  • Provenance: Acquired in 1918 from Ludwig Rosenthal, Munich
  • Museum: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett
  • Inv.-No.: A 1918-297
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-845516
  • External Link: http://www.skd.museum/de/museen-institutionen/residenzschloss/kupferstich-kabinett/
  • Copyright: Photo © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett/ Herbert Boswank cat. no. 45 / Claudia Schnitzer
  • Artist Dates: 1500 Nuremberg–1550 Frankfurt
  • Artist Biography: From around 1514, Beham trained in Dürer’s workshop. He was expelled from Nuremberg in 1525, along with his brother, Barthel, and Georg Pencz, for spreading radical Reformist ideas. Nevertheless, around 1530 Beham was active for, among others, Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, the harsh adversary of the Reformation. Barthel stood out primarily for his prints, including Bible illustrations.

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