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The Bewitched Groom (Sleeping Groom and a Sorceress)

Like many of his northern contemporaries, Hans Baldung was drawn to subjects that evoked demons and magic. This print presents one of his favorite themes: witchcraft. Although the narrative remains open to interpretation, it appears as though the unlucky groom (or stable boy) has been the recipient of a curse bestowed by the female figure in the window. The horse—based on a print by Albrecht Dürer—adds to the drama as it turns to see what is transpiring. Tricks of perspective, such as the daring foreshortening of the groom, add to the image’s visual power and create spatial tension.

Hans Baldung
German, 1484/5–1545
The Bewitched Groom (Sleeping Groom and a Sorceress)
ca. 1544
Woodcut on paper
Image/sheet: 13 1/8 x 7 ¾ in. (33.3 x 19.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, William H. Conroy Memorial, 74.9.3