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Storytelling in Miniature

Georg Pencz’s The Seven Acts of Mercy
These prints show the corporeal acts of mercy (those that tend to bodily needs) of the Christian belief. In Matthew 25:31–46 six works of mercy are denoted. According to Matthew, observance of the duties of mercy leads to salvation, while failure to act mercifully results in damnation. The last work of mercy, burying the dead, comes from the Hebrew book of Tobit.In this series, Georg Pencz depicts as literal Jesus’ words from Matthew 25:40, “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do for me.” Jesus is shown in each print as the recipient of the merciful act.