Pieter van der Heyden, Flemish, c. 1530 - after 1572. After a drawing by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Netherlandish (active Antwerp and Brussels), first documented 1550, died 1569. Published by Hieronymus Cock, Netherlandish, c. 1510 - 1570.
In a surreal landscape replete with hellish creatures, a female personification of Patience chained to a block prays in the foreground. The Christian message of perseverance in the face of tribulation is apparent, yet several motifs depict Catholic clergy in a negative light, reflecting the widespread religious turmoil in the Netherlands in the wake of the Reformation. In the hollow tree at the right, near the top of the trunk, the monk consorting with a prostitute is just one of many sinful vignettes contained within the blasted tree, itself a contradiction of the usual Christian associations of a leafy tree with the renewal of life.