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Landscape with a Scene of Witchcraft
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Landscape with a Scene of Witchcraft

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Description A witch seated in a landscape and accompanied by a monster is casting spells with macabre objects, including a human skull. Tassi specialized in the representation of landscapes and architecture. In this painting, he has imagined the forest as a place beyond civilization where demonic powers can be unleashed. The belief in witchcraft was common during Tassi's time. In romance poetry, witches were often described as beautiful and seductive creatures, and Tassi painted his image in this vein. The motifof the witch is taken from a painting by Dosso Dossi, who had arrived in Rome ca. 1608 (for which see the catalog Nature et Ídeal, Le paysage à Rome 1600-1650 (Paris: Grand Palais, 2011), p. 182 (by Patrizia Cavazzini)
  • Hot, Dry Men; Cold, Wet Women. Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown. 1993.
  • Nature et Ideal. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris; Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. 2011.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome, prior to 1897 [mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 423]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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1620-1644 (Baroque)
oil on canvas
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H: 24 7/8 x W: 29 5/16 in. (63.2 x 74.5 cm); Stretcher H: 25 3/8 x W: 29 7/8 in. (64.5 x 75.9 cm); Framed H: 36 x W: 40 1/4 x D: 5 1/4 in. (91.44 x 102.24 x 13.34 cm)

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