The Night-Hag Visiting Lapland Witches

Artist: Henry Fuseli (Swiss, Zürich 1741–1825 London)

Date: 1796

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 40 x 49 3/4 in. (101.6 x 126.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Bequest of Lillian S. Timken, by exchange, and Victor Wilbour Memorial, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment, Marquand and Charles B. Curtis Funds, 1980

Accession Number: 1980.411

Description

This canvas, first exhibited in 1799, was sold by the artist in 1808 to his biographer, John Knowles. It illustrates a passage from Paradise Lost (II, 622–66) in which the hellhounds surrounding Sin are compared to those who "follow the night-hag when, called, / In secret, riding through the air she comes, Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance / With Lapland witches, while the laboring moon Eclipses at their charms." "Night-hag" is an epithet of the Greek goddess Hecate, who presided over witchcraft and magical rites.

Related