Witch Riding Backwards On A Goat (1500) by Albrecht Durer

Witch Riding Backwards On A Goat - Albrecht Durer - 1500

Artwork Information

TitleWitch Riding Backwards On A Goat
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Witch Riding Backwards On A Goat

The artwork titled “Witch Riding Backwards On A Goat” is an engraving created by Albrecht Dürer in 1500. It is a product of the Northern Renaissance and is categorized as a genre painting. As of my knowledge cutoff in April 2023, the artwork is held in a private collection.

The engraving depicts a chaotic and energetic scene where a nude figure, assumed to be a witch, is riding a goat backwards. Her wild, wind-blown hair and the backwards pose on the goat convey a sense of both rebellion and a departure from the natural order. The witch is holding a distaff filled with flax, which is a tool used in spinning, referencing the traditional association of women with textile production, which during the Renaissance was sometimes linked to witchcraft. She is accompanied by several putti, or cherubic infants, who are also nude and engaged in various activities. Two of the putti are holding up a round object, possibly a mirror, another object often associated with witchcraft. The goat itself is a creature commonly related to the devil and witchcraft in Christian iconography. The presence of the putti, who are usually symbolic of innocence and godliness, offers a striking contrast to the witch and her darker implications. The expressive lines and attention to detail are characteristic of Dürer’s skilled engraving work. The monogram “AD” can be seen at the bottom of the print, identifying Dürer as the artist.

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