Four Things Bring Ruin to a Mine (c. 1556)
This tempera painting depicts the four main reasons for the failure of a mine: war, death, rising costs, and sloth. War brings the mining industry to a standstill (upper left) and causes death (upper right). Price hikes and inflation leave miners holding empty bags instead of grain-filled sacks (lower left). Then comes the issue of poor character: the final scene shows lazy miners lying around the entrance to the mine, refusing to work (lower right). This image was printed in the 1556 Schwazer Mining Book [Schwazer Bergbuch], which portrayed the Tyrolian mining industry in texts and images. The Mining Book is an important source for understanding the lives and work of sixteenth-century miners.
Source: Schwazer Mining Book [Schwazer Bergbuch], Deutsches Museum, Munich
Reproduction: Deutsches Museum, Munich