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Storytelling in Miniature

Hans Sebald Beham
German, 1500–1550

The Guard Near the Powder Casks

Engraving, about 1540
1 13/16 x 1 3/16 in.
Museum purchase, 1923.3196

The title of this print suggests that only one of the three men shown is acting in an official capacity. The peasant dress and casual demeanor of the two on the right suggest that they might be workmen taking a break. Perhaps they have just unloaded the casks of powder and cannon balls from a ship or wagon. The formal pose, military dress, and imposing musket held by the man on the left leaves no doubt that he is the guard.