You are here:

Scenes of Witchcraft

Scenes of Witchcraft

c. 1645-1649

Part of a set. See all set records

Salvator Rosa

(Italian, 1615-1673)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 76.2 x 9.6 cm (30 x 3 3/4 in.); Unframed: 54.5 cm (21 7/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1977.37

Description

A huge upturn in interest in witchcraft emerged during the 1500s in Europe, but by the middle of the next century—at least among the cultured elite of Florence—a backlash arose against the many accusations of sorcery. Artists and writers explored the topic more out of curiosity and amusement, chief among them the poet, painter, and satirist Salvator Rosa, who examined witchcraft with gusto in numerous poems and works of art, including these four paintings. They show a range witch types, from the beautiful enchantress to the old crone to the male sorcerer, and represent activities commonly associated with black magic: levitation, love potions, devil worship, the invocation of demons, and transformation. A common subject in Italian art of the 1600s, transformation was usually seen in interpretations of myths based on Ovid's ancient Latin text, the Metamophoses. Rosa found a novel way to exploit this idea, drawing attention to his own ability to transform paint and canvas into a disturbing, nightmarish world.

See also

Contact us

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar.