Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 




The Early Modern Period

16th - 18th century


 


The smooth transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age is conventionally fixed on such events as the Reformation and the discovery of the "New World," which brought about the emergence of a new image of man and his world. Humanism, which spread out of Italy, also made an essential contribution to this with its promotion of a critical awareness of Christianity and the Church. The Reformation eventually broke the all-embracing power of the Church. After the Thirty Years' War, the concept of a universal empire was also nullified. The era of the nation-state began, bringing with it the desire to build up political and economic power far beyond Europe. The Americas, Africa, and Asia provided regions of expansion for the Europeans.
 



Proportions of the Human Figure by Leonardo da Vinci (drawing, ca. 1490)
is a prime example of the new approach of Renaissance
artists and scientists to the anatomy of the human body.

 

 



Baldung's Witches

 



 

 

see also:

"Faeries" by H. Johnson

see also:

"Good faeries & bad faeries" by B. Froud

 

 


Hans Baldung Grien

1484-1545


 

Sieben damonische Tiere als die sieben Hauptsunden
1511
Druck, Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Graphische Sammlung


 

 

"When Shall We Three Meet Again"


Europe swept by witch-burnings


 

        


Two Witches
1523
 

 


Now I come to speak of the greatest of all heresies: of the mischief wrought by witches and fiends. By night they fly through the air on broomsticks, stove forks, cats, goats or other such things. Witchcraft is the most accursed of all errors - and it must be mercilessly punished by fire.

Mathiasvon Kemnat, Chronicle of Frederick the Victorious of the Palatinate, c.1480;
heading: William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 1

 


Hell's weather cauldrom, 1489

They concocted devilish ointments of toads' eyes, choke cherries, peppercorns and spiders. They poisoned the air with powders ground from intestines. They caused cataclysmic deluges to fall from the heavens. Thev set off avalanches and turned themselves into red-eyed goats. Their favourite food was pickled children. Imagination knew no bounds when it came to describing the monstrous things done by witches and their evil powers. Some early tales are inadvertently funny. Witches blew up storms by vigorously fanning them with their slippers or slid down into valleys on the backs of avalanches, the tails of their scarves flapping in the wind. In early Modern times, however, witches were no laughing matter. Enlightened bishops who castigated belief in ghosts, witches and black magic and regarded it as utter nonsense that represented a revival of pagan practices were not heeded. Most theologians not only promoted dark superstition; they were convinced that sorcery was a reality and the result of pacts with the devil. Witchcraft was heresy, which made it doubly important to prosecute it and to persecute practitioners. In 1487 a compendium of horror stories was published in Strasbourg, the Hexenhammer (Witches' Hammer), which continued to be read in Europe until the seventeenth century. Both Protestant and Catholic judges consulted it as a penal code for dealing with witchcraft. One can imagine King James, famously obsessed with witchcraft, having been sent a copy by his daughter from the Palatinate. At any rate, the book may be said to have sparked off much of the witch-burning madness of the early Modern age. Its authors approved of torture, maintaining that women in particular were inclined to the sin of witchcraft. Of course women who gave themselves up to "lust and carnal desire or even sodomy" were prime targets for persecution. The German painter Hans Baldung Grien, who from 1509 lived in Strasbourg where Hexenhammer had been published not long before most likely wanted to get in on the act with his Two Witches. Despite the continued call for moderation and reason, witch-burnings which had ceased in England by 1685 were still common practice on mainland Europe as late as 1749. Trials however continued until 1717 in England, whereas the last recorded trial of a witch took place in 1793 in Germany.

 
 
 
   

Burning witches at the stake, 1555

 
 
 
 


Witch Sabbath
 

 


Witches

 


Szene
 

 


Sorcieres


 

Three Witches
1514

 

 


Witch and Dragon.
1515
 

 


Departing for the Sabbath
 

 

The Three Fates

1513






Sitzendes nacktes Hexe (
Witch), nach rechts gewendet
1513
Studie, Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin



 

Nackte Kugellauferin
1514


 


Kampfendes nacktes Paar
1524



See also collection:

Hans Baldung


 

 

 

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