Witches and Wicked Bodies.

01540102_001The Witches’ Rout (The Carcass) c.1520, Agostino Veneziano (c.1490-c.1540), Engraving © The Trustees of the British Museum.
It’s well documented that the classification of ‘witch’ was once used as an excuse to torture and murder innocent women.
But how were these so-called conjurers and sorceresses portrayed in art?
The answer can be found at Witches and Wicked Bodies.
Rather than appearing as humans, the witches in this exhibition are highly caricatured.
Often it’s impossible to tell if subjects are female, save for their sagging and often emaciated breasts.
Many witches owe their inspiration to infamous historical figures, including Circe the sorceress from the Odyssey.
00177502_001-634x500The Three Weird Sisters from Macbeth, 1785, John Raphael Smith, after Henry Fuseli, mezzotint © The Trustees of the British Museum.
The three sisters from Macbeth feature in several drawings and prints, too.
Witches can also be found consorting to turn animals against their masters, or otherwise making use of strange and terrifying creatures; in one scene, a witch rides a skeletal beast, making away with a host of captured infants.
Some of the other creatures on display are truly bizarre — from a giant dragon vomiting out demons to a table of devils gathered for a feast of babies’ hearts.
The nightmarish scenarios portrayed are clearly the results of imaginations let loose and it seems that some of the artists have set out to create as hellish a vision as possible.
via Witches And Wicked Bodies At British Museum | Londonist.

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