An Allegory of the Old and New Testaments

Hans Holbein the Younger1530

National Galleries of Scotland

National Galleries of Scotland

The images and inscriptions provide a painted sermon. The central theme, encouraged by the Reformation, is the contrast between the unforgiving Old Testament Law (LEX) on the left, and the forgiving Grace of the New Testament (GRATIA) at the right. Man (HOMO)'s failure to obey the commandments God gave to Moses, led to sin (PECCATUM) and death (MORS - the skeleton). However, man is forgiven and achieves salvation (VICTORIA NOSTRA) through Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection. Man sits between the Old Testament prophet Isaiah and St John the Baptist, who points the way forward to Christ 'the Lamb of God' (AGNUS DEI).

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  • Title: An Allegory of the Old and New Testaments
  • Creator: Hans Holbein the Younger
  • Date Created: 1530
  • Physical Dimensions: w641.3 x h746.1 x d57.1 cm (Without frame)
  • Credit Line: Purchased by Private Treaty with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the National Heritage Purchase Grant (Scotland) 1981
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: http://www.nationalgalleries.org/shop/commercial-and-non-commercial-reproduction/article/copyright-and-reproduction-of-works
  • External Link: National Galleries of Scotland
  • Medium: Oil on panel


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