witchcraft-through-the-ages

 "An Assembly of Witches" by Frans Francken the Younger (1581 – 6 May 1642)
A largely female collection of witches gather to cast spells using books (‘Grimoires’), skulls and other ingredients. One sits at a table to record the experiments. Notice that one of these witches apparently has her (female) child with her. Various imps can be seen in the middle ground of the picture: one like a gremlin on a gallows, right top center, a demonic incubus assaults a naked figure at the right. A huge cauldron is being boiled up at the right rear. The figure of the young woman (or figure in woman’s clothing) is puzzling. She may be some kind of captive, arms tied behind her back, or a male interloper whose true sex has been revealed by opening the dress. Another two male figures look in at the scene in the left foreground. They just may be intermediary figures between us and the coven, or might be rescuers. Here witchcraft is becoming Gothic, an atrocity pantomime, with suggestions of a romance narrative to the picture.