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Johann Heinrich Böhm the Elder, prophet

around 1665, lime wood with residues of the original painting, 115 x 50 x 33 cm, Inv. no. L/65/11/K3, loaned by the Protestant St. Nicolas’ Church

The two figures in nearly life size – the bearded prophet with turban, girded robe and coat as well as Sybil with her head held solemnly high and also dressed very elegant – are related to each other by means of gestures and eye contact. Their massive form (just have a look at the prophet from the side) is characteristic for the artworks created by Johann Heinrich Böhme the Elder. It is not sure where these figures had been set up in the first instance; they probably belonged to an epitaph which could not be preserved as a whole. Prophet and Sybil are mostly portrayed as soothsayers in the course of a cycle. The forecasts of the Sybils are considered to announce the appearance of Christ, as the prophet’s messianic prophecies do. Later on they are also used as symbols for political wisdom for profane purposes for example in a council hall or at a town hall’s portal.


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