Two Witches, Hans Baldung Grien
Hans Baldung Grien
Two Witches
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Hans Baldung Grien

Two Witches, 1523


Dimensions
65.3 x 45.6 x max. 0.5 cm
minimum depth
0.5 cm
Physical Description
Mixed technique on limewood
Inventory Number
1123
Acquisition
Acquired in 1878
Status
Not exhibited

Texts

About the Work

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.

Audio

  • 01:06
    Basic information
  • 01:56
    Focus on art history
  • 01:06
    Focus on cultural history

Work Data

Basic Information

Title
Two Witches
Painter
Period Produced
School
Object Type
Physical Description
Mixed technique on limewood
Material
Technique
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Monogrammiert und datiert in der rechten oberen Ecke: HBG [ligiert] 1523

Property and Acquisition

Institution
Administration
Collection
Picture Copyright
© Städel Museum, Foto: U. Edelmann
Acquisition
Acquired in 1878

Work Content

Motifs and References

Genre
Main Motif
Associated Persons and Institutions

Iconclass

Primary
  • 13B1 witch, sorceress
  • 31AA the (nude) human figure; 'Corpo humano' (Ripa) - AA - female human figure
  • 31AA(+2) the (nude) human figure; 'Corpo humano' (Ripa) - AA - female human figure (+ back view)
  • 42A51 toddler
Secondary

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Last import

15.05.2019