Apr 27, 2006

The Bewitched Groom

The Bewitched Groom


Hans Baldung

(German, 1484/85–1545)


Mr. and Mrs. Charles G. Prasse Collection 1966.172

Catalogue raisonné: Hollstein II.139.237



Although the scene is enigmatic, presumably the witch has worked her magic through the physical power of the horse, who rendered the groom unconscious and now glowers at him. Representations of witchcraft were common during the early 16th century, a period of emerging moral reform and religious fervor. Baldung seemed to be obsessed with the evil power of female sexuality: representations of women with sinister or malicious connotations and their association with vulnerability and death are features of his work. Since Baldung's coat of arms appears on the wall behind the groom, who also bears some facial resemblance to portraits of the artist, some autobiographical reference may have been intended. Bewitched Groom presents a pessimistic view of man—or perhaps Baldung himself—who cannot resist the superior and evil forces of nature. The inevitability of physical passion, and its connection with the frailty of human nature, is a recurring theme in the artist's work.

See also
PR - Woodcut
Type of artwork: 

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