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The Witch (Night Piece), 1626. Creator: Jan van de Velde (Dutch, 1620-1662)

The Witch (Night Piece), 1626. Creator: Jan van de Velde (Dutch, 1620-1662)


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The Witch (Night Piece), 1626. Creator: Jan van de Velde (Dutch, 1620-1662)

The Witch (Night Piece), 1626. This nocturnal scene depicts a bare-breasted sorceress concocting her evil brew in the company of bizarre beasts. She stands within a " magic circle" scratched into the ground, the supernaturally consecrated space for witchcraft-a likely inspiration for the circular forms of Rosas paintings. She overturns a horn into her cauldron engulfed in billowing flames; mixing with the powder are two streams of ash that spew forth from pipes held in the anus of a somersaulting demon at left. The swirling, decorative composition and the variety of grotesque creatures making knowing and silly faces at the viewer add elements of whimsy and farce to the ostensibly serious, occult subject

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Media ID 19630711

© Heritage Art/Heritage Images

1620 1662 Jan Van De Velde Jan Van De Velde Dutch


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> Europe > Netherlands > Paintings

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Cleveland

> Heritage Images > Halloween


EDITORS COMMENTS
This print showcases Jan van de Velde's "The Witch (Night Piece)" from 1626. In this mesmerizing nocturnal scene, a bare-breasted sorceress is depicted in the midst of concocting her wicked brew, surrounded by an array of bizarre beasts. Standing within a meticulously scratched "magic circle, " which serves as a supernatural space for witchcraft, she overturns a horn into her cauldron engulfed in billowing flames. What truly sets this artwork apart are the intricate details and whimsical elements that Van de Velde incorporates. The composition swirls with decorative flair, while grotesque creatures make knowing and silly faces at the viewer, adding an unexpected touch of farce to the ostensibly serious occult subject matter. One particularly intriguing aspect is the presence of two streams of ash spewing forth from pipes held in the anus of a somersaulting demon on the left side. This peculiar addition adds an extra layer of intrigue and mystique to an already enchanting piece. Jan van de Velde's masterful engraving transports us back to 17th-century Dutch artistry, showcasing his unique style and attention to detail. As we gaze upon this print, we are reminded not only of Van de Velde's talent but also how art can transport us into fantastical worlds filled with magic and mystery. This remarkable print is part of Heritage Art/Heritage Images' collection and can be found at The Cleveland Museum of Art.

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