The head of the Church of Rome appears as a wild man and an incarnation of the devil himself in front of Purgatory. Coats of arms with papal insignia (crossed keys, tiara) decorate the plaque on the horns of the defecating Satan. The key of Peter is broken; the pontifical cross uprooted. In contrast with the coarse scene, the artist rendered the tiniest details using the delicate lines of the technique of etching.


  • Title: The Pope as Wild Man
  • Creator: Melchior Lorch
  • Date Created: after 1545
  • Physical Dimensions: 22.9 × 19.4 cm
  • Technique and Material: Etching
  • Provenance: Von Nagler Collection
  • Museum: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett
  • Inv.-No.: 394–7
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-018511
  • External Link: http://www.smb.museum/museen-und-einrichtungen/kupferstichkabinett/home.html
  • Copyright: Photo © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett/ Jörg P. Anders; Text © Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach, A Cooperation of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nov 20, 2016 – March 26, 2017, Munich: Prestel, 2016; cat. no. 42 / Michael Roth
  • Catalogue: https://prestelpublishing.randomhouse.de/book/Renaissance-and-Reformation/Stephanie-Buck/Prestel-com/e504919.rhd
  • Artist Dates: c. 1526–27 Flensburg–after 1583
  • Artist Biography: Lorch, who was trained in Lübeck as a goldsmith, was active as a printmaker and from 1580 to 1582 as court painter to Frederick II in Denmark. After a journey to Italy in 1551–52, Lorch lived in the milieu of the Viennese court of Emperor Ferdinand I, whose envoy he accompanied on his trip to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The oeuvre of the artist, who was raised to the peerage in 1564, was influenced by the court art of Munich and his study of art in Italy.

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