As the knight, his trusty steed and faithful dog walk their lonely path, they are followed by Death and the devil. Death, the pale figure upon his ghostly horse next to the knight, holds an hourglass, forever reminding the knight of the passage of time and how little is left in his life. Behind the knight is the devil as a reminder that evil is always present. As the knight’s horse continues doggedly forward, there is a skull directly underfoot; just one more reminder of the death before him.
This chilling scene, engraved by Albrecht Dürer in 1514, has been interpreted to symbolize the strength of the Christian faith to help bring the knight through his troubling times. His literal armor and the figurative armor of his faith will protect him from death and evil.
At the museum, we think the lesson is clear: Be careful with whom you trick-or-treat. Happy Halloween to all!