Images of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Charles Zika

in The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780199578160
Published online May 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Images of Witchcraft in Early Modern             Europe

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  • European History
  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This article discusses the study of witchcraft imagery in early modern Europe. German art historian Sigrid Schade attempted the first major synthesis of witchcraft imagery. In a doctoral dissertation published in 1983, he argued that the witchcraft images of early sixteenth-century artists, such as Albrecht Altdorfer, Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Hans Baldung Grien, transformed traditional notions of magic by locating the source of this magic in the eroticism of the female body. Schade’s work would influence the historiography of witchcraft images over the next two decades, either directly or indirectly, in two important respects: firstly, through a concentration on the work of early sixteenth-century artists, especially that of Hans Baldung Grien; and secondly, through the link created between witchcraft imagery and gender change in European society and culture.

Keywords: visual images; witchcraft; Sigrid Schade; witchcraft imagery; magic; female body; Hans Baldung Grien; gender change

Article.  8414 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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