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Josaphat Meeting a Blind Man and a Beggar
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Follower of Hans Schilling
German, Haguenau, 1469
Tempera colors and colored washes on paper
11 1/4 x 8 in.
MS. LUDWIG XV 9, FOL. 31V

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In this scene, Prince Josaphat rides abroad with a great entourage, encountering people with physical maladies for the first time. His horse stops just before a blind man being led by a dog. The man's closed eyes are an unmistakable clue of his blindness, yet the naïve Josaphat still raises his hand in a gesture of greeting. A lame man appears in the foreground, lifting a cup for alms. In the upper right-hand corner, a man is hanged in the gallows while another is tortured on the wheel.

This scene portrays a pivotal moment in the story of Josaphat. As in the story of Prince Siddhartha (later known as the Buddha), the young privileged prince had wished to venture out from the confines of the palace. Unable to deny his son's request, King Avenir instructed a group of escorts to accompany Josaphat abroad and to protect him from the sight of the harsh realities of life, a Herculean task that proved to be impossible. The sight of illness and death--and the realization that these conditions were inevitable for all humans--shattered Josaphat's worldview.