The J. Paul Getty Museum

Lazarus Begging for Crumbs from Dives's Table

Object Details


Lazarus Begging for Crumbs from Dives's Table


Heinrich Aldegrever (German, 1502 - about 1561)






Pen and brown ink, brown wash, traces of black chalk, incised for transfer

Object Number:



7.8 × 10.8 cm (3 1/16 × 4 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

Lying on the ground with one arm outstretched, a beggar pleads for crumbs from a rich man's table while dogs lick his sores. This drawing is the second in a series of five preparatory studies Heinrich Aldegrever made for a set of engravings. The series illustrates the Biblical story of Dives and Lazarus from the Book of Luke. Lazarus, a pauper, lived outside the gates of Dives's afluent home. While Dives lived in luxury, Lazarus lived off the crumbs from his table. When the two died, Lazarus was taken to heaven, while Dives went to hell. Dives was punished for eternity because of his mistreatment of Lazarus on earth.

Although the story takes place in the early Christian era, Aldegrever placed the figures in a fashionable interior of the 1500s. Artists often chose to use contemporary settings to make it easier for their viewers to identify with the characters. Dives's feast takes place in a sumptuous interior decorated with bottle glass windows. On the floor, glass vessels fill a wine cooler. Elaborately attired figures seated around the banquet table fail to show the beggar any charity. A servant carrying chafing dishes high above his head emphasizes that Dives's abundant food is unobtainable for Lazarus.

German and Swiss Drawings from the Permanent Collection (June 6 to August 20, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 6 to August 20, 2000
Ten Years of Drawings: What, How, and Why (January 29 to May 4, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 29 to May 4, 2008
Renaissance Drawings from Germany and Switzerland, 1470-1600 (March 27 to June 17, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 27 to June 17, 2012