"Der DTs"
Unknown Anonymous¹
German, 14th Century

This is the right-hand panel of a diptych, the other half of which is "Die Katzenjammer" (the hangover). It is apparently part of a now-lost series of diptychs, triptychs, quadriptychs, pentaptychs and hexaptychs on the perils of alcoholic imbibition. It is thematically similar to the series of paintings and engravings, "The Rake's Progress" by William Hogarth 400 years later.

The exquisitely-rendered egg tempera on bacon relates the sad state of the terminally heavy drinker. Beset with the blue devils characteristic of the DTs (and a flaming blue devil, considered the worst of the lot), the subject is about to topple backwards into the well already occupied by one of the devils.

The fruit he is consuming, and which is being consumed by one of the devils, has perplexed art historians. It may represent the now-extinct German besotted birch², whose fruit fermented on the tree to amazing levels of alcohol content, estimated at between 120 and 150 proof. This might explain the two fruits in the subject's hands, as well as making the activities of the blue devils into a Rake's Progress-like sequence: eating the fruit, becoming flaming drunk, and barfing into the convenient well, indoor plumbing not having been invented yet.

One other scholar has put forth the idea that the "blue devils" represent the survival of the plesiosaur into the 14th century, having evolved into an airborne plant predator, although the scholarly consensus is that he is barking mad.
¹That's how the painting is signed. The relationship of Unknown Anonymous to the many other Anonymice of the period is not known. Some scholars have hypothesized that the painting represents a very early version of Alcoholics Anonymous, but this is rejected by others with degrees from more prestigious universities with fancier diplomas.

²Known elsewhere as the blitzed bush, the plastered plant, the sozzled spruce, the wasted willow, the tipsy tree and the stinko-stemmed succulent

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