About this artwork

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.

  • title:
    The Four Witches
  • accession number:
    P 15
  • artist:
    Albrecht DürerGerman (1471 - 1528)
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Engraving on paper
  • date created:
    1497
  • measurements:
    19.00 x 13.10 cm
  • credit line:
    William Finlay Watson Bequest 1881

Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer