The Four Witches

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The Four Witches
This print may show three witches initiating a young woman into their circle, although their exact identity is unknown. It is the first engraving Durer ever made that he dated. On the sphere above their heads is the date 1497, but the accompanying letters ‘O.G.H.’ have defied explanation. The skulls and bones scattered at their feet are indicators of magic and invocation, where the burning devil in the lower-left reiterates the presence of evil. The classically inspired pose is reminiscent of The Three Graces, and their beauty sets these women apart from the traditionally idea of witches as grotesque.

Glossary Open


The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.


An image pressed or stamped onto paper or fabric. This encompasses a wide variety of techniques, usually produced in multiples, although one-off prints, known as monoprints, are also included. The term is also applied to photographic images.

Engraving, Print


  • Acc. No. DURER.66
  • Medium Engraving on paper
  • Size 19.00 x 13.10 cm
  • Credit William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881