Of Witches and Wicked Bodies

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The Witches’ Rout (The Carcass), often attributed to Agostino Veneziano

Witches and Wicked Bodies is an exploration of how witches and witchcraft have been depicted by artists over the past 500 years, including works by Albrecht Dürer, Francisco de Goya and William Blake, plus pieces by 20th century artists such as Paula Rego and Kiki Smith.

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Four Witches, Albrecht Durer

Including major works on loan from the British Museum, the National Gallery (London), Tate, the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as works from the Galleries’ own collections, Witches and Wicked Bodies is an investigation of extremes, exploring the highly exaggerated ways in which witches have been represented, from hideous hags to beautiful seductresses.

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Vivien, Anthony Frederick Sandys

Unusually, the exhibition does not focus on the infamous “witch hunts” of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but instead on the artists’ fascination with the fantastical interpretations of witchcraft which were in keeping with the learned and sensationalized ideas circulating about witchcraft of the time, such as their alleged attendance at sabbaths and engagement of diabolical pacts.

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Witches at their Incantations, Salvator Rosa

 Part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, Witches and Wicked Bodies is running until 3 November 2013 at the Modern Two, Edinburgh

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