Jul 10, 2007

Mercenaries and a Woman with Death in a Tree

Mercenaries and a Woman with Death in a Tree


Urs Graf the Elder

(Swiss, c. 1485–1527/29)


Image: 20.2 x 11.7 cm (7 15/16 x 4 5/8 in.); Sheet: 20.2 x 11.7 cm (7 15/16 x 4 5/8 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1942.118

Catalogue raisonné: Hollstein 28


Did you know?

Urs Graf was a Swiss professional soldier, or mercenary, who made many images of soldiers and camp followers, such as the woman featured here.


Two Swiss mercenaries and a woman meet
outside a city at a prominent tree. The woman’s
immodest dress, glance, and proximity to a
money bag imply that she is sexually available, as does the soldier’s suggestively placed sword.
Death makes an appearance as a skeleton,
conjoining sin with death (for it was believed
that overindulgence in carnal love led to peril).
The Swiss Confederacy during the 1500s was a
culture of mercenary warfare. Women traveled
with regiments of soldiers, earning meager
wages as servants, cooks, or sex workers. Urs
Graf, a soldier himself, made many images

ridiculing the situation.

See also
PR - Woodcut
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.