Witches and Wicked Bodies

British Museum

25 September 2014 – 11 January 2015

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From hideous hags to beautiful seductresses, witches have held a magnetic attraction for artists over the centuries. This exhibition studies these malevolent sorceresses in art from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century.

Albrecht Dürer, A witch riding backwards on a goat, with four putti, two carrying an alchemist's pot, a thorn apple plant, C.1500,

Men, women and children have all been accused of sorcery, but the majority of those punished for witchcraft have been female. This exhibition brings together engravings, drawings and paintings by artists who had a distinctly macabre fascination with witches.

While Francisco de Goya painted them as a disfigured coven worshiping the devil and offering it children to eat, his Romantic predecessors – such as Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Odilon Redon – depicted sexualised sirens of feminine evil.

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The exhibition includes several classical Greek vessels and examples of Renaissance maiolica, in order to reveal how witchcraft was also an important subject in the decorative arts.

Venue information

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5.30pm (Fri until 8.30pm)

Closed 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)