Vine Ornament with Birds, Martin Schongauer, 1470 - 1490
All kinds of birds are hidden in the exuberant vegetation. Together they refer to the monk’s struggle with his faith. Disguised as a dove at the bottom of the print, he is being attacked by an owl, a symbol of unbelief. The other birds protest fiercely. One of them, the stork, also features on the ceremonial chain. Representing the virtue of fidelity, it stands for respect for the church, state, and master.