These two nude women have entered a pact with the devil. To judge from their seductive poses, the witches are not in the least bothered by the threatening billows of smoke in the background. The dragon-like creature imprisoned in the bottle does not stand for Satan, as one might suspect, but symbolises quicksilver, which was used in medicinal ointments for treating syphilis, a disease rife in Europe since 1495. So what the witches are telling us is that he who fails to resist the provocative gaze of a woman runs the risk of being infected with the disease. The little Cupid surveys the calamity with alarm – aware of the role he has played in bringing it about.