Hans Holbein the Younger: An Allegory of the Old and New Testaments (early 1530s)
(National Galleries Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland)
An allegory and moralistic painting by the German artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543). The painting is divided into two segements: the left side is the period of the Old Testament - a period of decay and sin. The right side is the New Testament - a period of mercy and salvation. A large tree divides the two segments (the left side of the tree is dead while the right side of the tree is filled with leaves).
Left shows how man (HOMO, in the center) has neglected Moses' law (LEX), which leads to sin (PECCATUM, the eating of the Forbidden fruit by Adam and Eve). Sin eventually leads to death (MORS). Even the bars serpent of Moses (MYSTERIUM IUSTIFICATIONIS) cannot cure man.
The right side shows Christ who offers grace (GRATIA), justice (IUSTIFICATIO NOSTRA) and the victory over death (VICTORIA NOSTRA) which all leads through the Lamb of God (AGNUS DEI).
Man (HOMO) in the center is shown the right way by the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist.
Paining from early 1530s.