Scene of Witchcraft (1510) by Hans Baldung Grien.

Earlier this year Pam Grossman declared 2013 to be the Year of the Witch, so in honour of that (and the season) here’s a handful of sorceresses through the ages. Most can be found in higher quality at the Google Art Project but a couple are from other sources. I’ve taken the liberty of attributing the drawing below to Hans Baldung Grien, not Albrecht Dürer as Google has it. Not only is this the attribution I’ve always seen for this picture but Baldung’s “HBG” monogram is clearly visible beneath the sprawling woman.


New Year’s Greeting with Three Witches (1514) by Hans Baldung Grien.


The Witches’ Sabbath (c.1640–1649) by Salvator Rosa.

Salvator Rosa specialised in lurid depictions of bandits, executions and—as here—witches. The excessive imagery appealed to later generations, especially the Romantics. This painting is even more grotesque than usual with its flayed-bird abominations (below) looming out of the shadows.


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Melencolia details


The idle question “Where can you find the best reproduction of Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia I?” was answered at the Google Art Project where there are four different prints to examine. As usual it seems churlish to complain but I would have preferred one decent copy and a few more Dürer engravings in place of the duplicates; his Knight, Death and the Devil, for example, is absent. There are several other engravings, however, all of whose minute details and shading benefit from close scrutiny. Dürer is well-represented compared to other artists, there are several paintings there as well. The only oddity is the inclusion of this drawing of three witches by Dürer’s pupil Hans Baldung Grien. The museum that owns the drawing credits Grien but a search isn’t really necessary when it’s signed with the artist’s “HBG” monogram in place of Dürer’s famous “AD”. Does Google have any art historians proofing these entries or is it solely the work of technicians copying and pasting information?



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