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The Four Witches (Four Naked Women)

The Four Witches (Four Naked Women)


Albrecht Dürer

(German, 1471-1528)


Sheet: 19 x 13.1 cm (7 1/2 x 5 3/16 in.)

Gift of Howard E. Wise in memory of his parents, Samuel D. and May W. Wise by exchange 1990.85

Catalogue raisonné: Meder 69


Licentious witches occupied a precarious place during the 16th and 17th centuries, due to their perceived seductive powers that threatened to overturn the patriarchal order of society. The four fleshy women of Albrecht Dürer's beguiling Four Witches exchange vague and shifting glances that suggest sinister intentions. The threatening atmosphere is emphasized by a devil lurking behind an open doorway at the left, and a globe hanging from the ceiling inscribed O.G.H. (O Gott hüte), a proverb that means "Oh God, save us"-in this instance, from these sensual witches.

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