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Hans Baldung Griens Witches Sabbath and Fall of Man : Intersection of the Secular and the Sacred By ELEANOR A. CECCONI A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Magdalena Carrasco Sarasota, Florida May 2010
ii Dedication I would like to dedicate this thesis to Dr. Magdale na Carrasco. It was in her classroom that my love of the Northern Renaissance was born, and my work would not have come to fruition without her guidance. I also owe a great deal to my family and friends wh o have stood by me through this entire process. Whether you have helped by discussing idea s, editing my writing, or just listening to me complain, I certainly would not hav e been able to complete the project without your support. "Behind every able man, there are always other able men." -Chinese Proverb
iii Acknowledgments A great deal of my research has been made possible by the influential works of Erwin Panofsky, James Marrow, Joseph Koerner, Cissie Fair childs, Thomas Brady, and Christiane Andersson. "No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchest ra to play it." H.E. Luccock Needless to say that, conversely, the historian of political life, poetry, religion, philosophy, and social situations should make analo gous use of works of art. It is in the search for intrinsic meanings or content that the v arious humanistic disciplines meet on a common plane instead of serving as handmaidens to e ach other. -Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts
iv Table of Contents Dedication ii Acknowledgements iii List of Illustrations v Abstract viii I. Introduction 1 II. Witches Sabbath 19 III. The Fall of Man 43 IV. Conclusion 73 Bibliography 79
v List of Illustrations Chapter 2 Illustrations Figure 1. Hans Baldung Grien, The Witches Sabbath 1510, Pen and ink heightened with white on red-brown paper, 28.7 x 20.5 cm, Graphisch e Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, Austria. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 2. Hans Baldung Grien, The Witches Sabbath 1510, Chiaroscuro woodcut in two blocks, printed in gray and black, 38.9 x 27 cm, Th e Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 3. Ulrich Molitar, Devil Seducing a Witch 1489, Woodcut, Source: University of California, San Diego. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 4. Anonymous Artists, A Man Milks a Cow While a Witch Attempts to Steal M ilk from Its Belly from BUCH DER TUGEND or Book of Virtue, 1486, Woo dcut, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 85, German Book Illustrat ion before 1500: Anonymous Artists, 1484-86. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 5. Anonymous Artists, Witch Using a Bone to Summon a Hailstorm from BUCH DER TUGEND or Book of Virtue, 1486, Woodcut, The Il lustrated Bartsch, Vol. 85, German Book Illustration before 1500: Anonymous Art ists, 1484-86. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 6. Anonymous Artists, Witch Secretly Tapping a Wine Cask; Another Takes o n the Appearance of a Cat from BUCH DER TUGEND or Book of Virtue, 1486, Woo dcut, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 85, German Book Illus tration before 1500: Anonymous Artists, 1484-86. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 7. Anonymous Artists, Witch riding on a Wolf from TRACTATUS VON DEN BOSEN WEIBERN or Treatise on Witches, 1490, Woodcut The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 87, German Book Illustration before 1500: Anonymous Artists, 1489-91. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 8. Anonymous Artists, Rooster and Serpent Thrown into a Witchs Brew, from TRACTATUS VON DEN BOSEN WEIBERN or Treatise on Witc hes, 1490, Woodcut, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 87, German Book Illus tration before 1500: Anonymous Artists, 1489-91. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 9. Albrecht Altdorfer, Witches Sabbath, 1506, Pen on pale brown tinted paper, Musee du Louvre, Paris. (photo: ARTstor)
vi Figure 10. Hans Baldung Grien, Three Witches, 1514, Pen and ink drawing, 7 x 5, The Louvre. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 11. Jacob Bink, A Witch Beating the Devil Engraving, 7.2 cm x 5.4 cm, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 16, Early German Masters. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 12. Albrecht Drer, The Witch 1500-01, Engraving on Paper, 11.5 x 7.1 cm, source: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. (photo: ARTstor) Chapter 3 Illustrations Figure 1. Hans Baldung Grien, Fall of Man 1511, Woodcut, 37.1 cm x 25.1 cm, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 12. (photo: ArtStor) Figure 2. MoutierGrandval Bible, fol. 5v, ca. 840 AD, 20 x 15, British Library, London. (photo: ArtStor) Figure 3. Limbourg Brothers, Fall of Man fol. 25v, from the Tres Riches Heures de Duc de Berry c. 1411-1416, Musee Conde, Paris. (photo: Wikiped ia). Figure 4. Hubert van Eyck completed by Jan van Eyck Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, in the Ghent Altarpiece, 3.65 x 4.87 m (wings open), c 1423-1432, Oil on Panel, SintBaafskathedraal te Gent. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 5. Hugo van der Goes, The Fall from the Diptych of the Fall and the Redemption, after 1479, Oil on Panel, 32.3 x 21.9 cm, Kunsthist orisches Museum Wien. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 6. Hans Burgkmair, Adam and Eve Woodcut, 94.5 x 69.8 cm, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 11. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 7. Lucas van Leyden, Fall of Man c. 1508, Engraving, 11.7 x 8.8 cm, The Illustrated Bartsch Vol. 12. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 8. Albrecht Altdorfer, Fall of Man 7.2 x 4.8 cm, Woodcut, The Illustrated Bartsch Vol. 14. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 9. Albrecht Drer, Adam and Eve 1504, Engraving printed in black on laid paper, 25.1 x 19.3 cm, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detr oit, MI. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 10. Leochares, Apollo Belvedere c. 130-140 CD Roman copy of a Greek original of c. 330 BCE, 2.24 m, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatica n City. (photo: ARTstor)
vii Figure 11. Flavian, Youthful Hercucles 68-98 A.D., Marble, 97 3/16 in. (246.9 cm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. (ph oto: ARTstor) Figure 12. Leonardo Da Vinci, Study of a Man According to Vitruvius ca. 1485-1490, Pen and Ink, 34.3 x 24.5 cm, Gallerie dellAccademi a,Venice, Italy. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 13. Unknown, Venus de Medici 4th c B.C., Marble, Greek, Uffizi, Florence, Italy. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 14. Hans Baldung Grien, Unequal Lovers 1507, Engraving, data and photo from James H. Marrow, Hans Baldung Grien: Prints and Drawings Chapter 4 Illustrations Figure 1. Hans Baldung Grien, Witch and Demon, 1515, Chiaroscuro pen drawing on brown-tinted paper, 29.5 x 20.7 cm, Kupferstichkabi nett, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe. (photo: Linda C. Hults, The Witch as Muse figure 3.10) Figure 2. Hans Baldung Grien, Group of Six Horses, 1534, Woodcut, 22.7 x 33.6 cm, source: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 3. Hans Baldung Grien, Bewitched Groom, 1544, Woodcut, 33.9 x 19.9 cm, source: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA. (ph oto: ARTstor)
viii Abstract Hans Baldung Griens body of work is comprised most ly of prints and drawings. A significant component of his repertoire is charge d with eroticism. Lasciviousness is infused in his secular and religious themes alike. Two of his woodcuts stand out as sister images because of their similarity in tone and tech nique, Witches Sabbath and Fall of Man Upon exploring other contemporary early modern Ge rman woodcut prints of both of the themes, it became apparent that Baldung Grie ns treatment of the themes was highly sexualized, aggressive, and also inviting. A gricultural, biblical, and sexual implications are embedded in both images that suppo rt Baldung Griens statement that aggressive female sexuality is dangerous, destructi ve, and in need of being controlled. Because of the woodcuts more expensive chiaroscuro medium and more intricate crosshatching technique, these woodcut prints would have been more time consuming and expensive to produce. They were the cream of the cr op of available prints. Furthermore, evidence shows that images displaying erotically or iented female nudes were geared toward the intellectual wealthy males that the arti st socialized with. It is because of these factors that it seems both Witches Sabbath and Fall of Man were created as quasipornographic images for male enjoyment and arousal. Furthermore, ownership of such an image implies sexual and social control over typica lly unruly women, witches and Eve. Magdalena Carrasco Professor of Art History
1 I Introduction The Fall of man and witches were popular early mode rn German artistic subjects. Albrecht Drer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucas van Leyden, and Albrecht Altdorfer are just a few artists to treat the subjects. But one a rtist in particular stands apart from his peers in terms of style, tone, and interpretation o f these themes. Hans Baldung Grien (1484-1545), the most successful student of Albrech t Drer, was counted among his contemporaries as one of the greatest artists of th eir time. In the opinion of modern scholars, Baldung Grien is placed half a step behi nd Grnewald, Drer, and Hans Holbein the Younger.1 He is said to have possessed a desire for novelty of subjects and interpretation that sometimes borders on the eccent ric. The new themes he introduced include the supernatural and the erotic.2 He is remembered especially for his Fall of Man (1511), Wild Horses series (1534), and images of witches. Hans Baldung Griens images are striking because of the deep connection they ma ke with the viewer, a connection not made in the works of his contemporaries. James Marrows groundbreaking studies on Northern R enaissance art changed the way art historians interpreted art from the Renaiss ance. He argued the importance of discovering how art means as opposed to what it means, how [art] structures experience 1 Christiane Andersson, "Baldung, Hans," in Grove Ar t Online. Oxford Art Online, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/g rove/art/T005901 (accessed February 5, 2010). 2 Andersson.
2 and interpretation.3 Marrow notes that it is not comprehensive enough t o interpret northern Renaissance art with a purely symbolic eye As early as van Eyck, northern Renaissance artists began calling into play the rol e of the spectator in constituting arts meaning. Art can no longer be defined merely by wha t it represents, but also by the effects that are experienced by the viewer. 4 Marrow argues that the work of Hans Baldung Grien exemplifies the new concerns of the a rtist in their fullest and most sophisticated development, particularly with regar ds to the complex patterns of imageviewer reciprocity.5 The stylistic elements outlined in this thesis sup port the intense connection Baldung Grien is able to create between the image and the viewer, rendering his work important to understanding contemporary ea rly modern Germany. In this thesis I show how comparing seemingly diffe rent images is another method of showing how art means. I aim to explore the relationship betwe en images of Adam and Eve and witches, themes usually considered to be in the oppositional secular and religious realms. I will show how this can illu minate our understanding of the past, whether or not textual evidence is taken into accou nt. I believe studying Baldung Griens images of witches and Adam and Eve together highlighting their similarities rather than their differences, will add new and relevant eviden ce to the ongoing discourse of womens Reformation studies, which has been a sourc e of debate and contention. A brief summary of Hans Baldung Griens unique biography sh ows that he maintained a respected and elevated status in urban Strasbourg t hroughout his entire life, dabbling in fiscal investments and real estate aside from his a rtistic endeavors. His financial freedom 3 James H. Marrow,Symbol and Meaning in Northern Eu ropean Art of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance, Simiolus 16 (1986): 168. 4 Marrow, 169. 5 Marrow, 169.
3 is what allowed him to explore the erotically charg ed themes that are the focus of this thesis. Hans Baldung Grien Hans Baldung Grien was born and raised in Strasbour g where his father, Johann Baldung, had been an episocpal official (1492-1505) Baldung Grien had an usual background for an artist at this time. He came from a learned family of lawyers and doctors rather than traditional artisans. Baldung G riens family remained locally influential; his older brother Caspar (c. 1480-1540 ) was the city solicitor of Strasbourg after 1522. 6 At age eighteen, in 1503, Baldung Grien entered th e workshop of Drer in Nuremberg, not as an apprentice but as a journeyman His nickname Grien appeared in this period, seemingly separating him from other jo urneymen with the same first name and indicating a color preference for green.7 Baldung Grien seemingly preferred drawings over pai nting, which became especially evident at an early stage in his career. The number of drawings and prints greatly outnumber his paintings. His chiaroscuro dr awings on colored paper, usually brown or reddish-brown, appear to have been appreci ated by a highly refined clientele, possibly early collectors, in Freiburg and Strasbou rg. One such drawing dated 1514 bears a dedicatory inscription with New Years wishes to an unnamed canon of the Church.8 Baldung Grien also indicated a preference for woodc utting over engraving. He perfected 6 Andersson. 7 Andersson. 8 Andersson.
4 the technique in the workshop of Drer, who admired the young apprentices work enough to sell some of the woodcuts on his travels.9 Baldungs body of work was obviously influenced by his audience in Strasbourg. His portraits (oil and drawings) and heraldic sketc hes, plus small items, such as sketches for bookplates, show that the nobles of the region and the aristocrats of the town supplied an important part of his livelihood.10 His social and business connections, combined with his fiscal investments, help to explain how Baldung had the comfort and freedom to explore erotic themes, taking advantage of his arti stic license and creativity in a time when many artists commissions were their sole livl ihood. Baldung Grien and his wife became deeply involved i n fiscal investments such as lending money and renting real estate in order to c ontinue making an income throughout their lives. By 1524 the couple had bought a perman ent home in the most fashionable area of Strasbourg, the Brandgasse (rue Brule).11 Before the purchase of this home, they had already begun to buy agricultural property in t he citys suburbs, which they would rent and eventually sell for a profit.12 The ability of an artisan such as Baldung Grien to invest and flourish with a modest starting capital indicates his respected and elevated status in Strasbourg society. Baldung Griens comfo rtable fiscal status allowed him to experiment with different artistic themes, includin g his outlandish witches. 9 Andersson. 10 Thomas A. Brady, The Social Place of a German Ren aissance Artist: Hans Baldung Grien at Strasbourg, Central European History 8 (December, 1975): 314. 11 Brady, 299. 12 Brady, 299-300.
5 Witchcraft The formulation and perpetuation of the discourse of witchhunting, whether visual or verbal, and engagement i n the debate surrounding witchcraft and its appropriate punishme nt, were male prerogatives. Witchcraft was the most extreme expre ssion of female deviance: a charge levied not against women in gene ral but against women who were imagined as eluding or subverting patriarc hal control. As such, the stereotype of the witch represents early modern Europes profound fear of female deviance.13 Germany has been understood as the epicenter of the European witch-craze, beginning with the publication of the notorious Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of the Witches, 1487), which was inspired by Jacob Sprenge r and Henrich Kramers campaigns in the upper Rhineland in the 1480s, and ending wit h the worst examples of persecutions during the peak period of the sixteenth and sevente enth-century witch hunts.14 The political and religious fragmentation of all of the territories that comprised the Germanspeaking lands created a fertile environment for th e myth of the witch, who became a scapegoat for all things. One of the most important insights of recent German historical scholarship on the witch-hunts has been their relation to climate, wea ther, and food supply. Wolfgang Behringer makes clear that major witch persecutions did not occur in German centers of power but in poor, traditional societies with much malnutrition and illness, where witchhunting worked functionally. Poor harvests and fa mines in German territories triggered the scapegoating of accused witches. In many cases witch-hunting does not seem to have been driven by authorities wishes but by thei r response to the demands of a 13 Linda C. Hults, The Witch as Muse: Art, Gender, and Power in Early Modern Europe (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 20 05): 15. 14 Hults, 56.
6 populace seeking to better its wretched lot by purg ing witches. 15 Certain common assumptions held in German agricultural regions abo ut the activities of witches, such as the production of hailstorms and killing of animals fostered such demands. Illustrations from treatises published in the last quarter of the fifteenth-century, including the Buch der Tugend (1486) and Tractatus von den Weisen (1490), display witches participating in these agriculturally destructive acts, as well as m any others. These illustrations are pictorial evidence proving that the widespread circ ulation of these accusations were in full swing long before witch-hunting officially beg an. The danger of a witchs rumored uncontrolled sexual ity was another major motivator behind the witch-hunts. Visual evidence i ndicates that the stereotypical sexually-oriented witch was also a part of societal dialogue long before the persecutions of witches occurred. The early sixteenth-century sa w a general influx of the image of the witch in the nude, something that had not frequentl y been produced before. Most scholars believe the new iconography surrounding witches at this time was deeply influenced by the publication of the Malleus Maleficarum which was the first text to stress the sexual relationship that existed between witches and the d evil. Educated artists such as Albrecht Drer (1421-1528) and Hans Baldung Grien were membe rs of social circles that included well-educated, wealthy men who would have kept abre ast of the most recent theological treatises. The two artists, who are the focus of my thesis, created the most striking new print images of witches at the turn of the sixteent h century. These images, as we will see, were born from a combination of scholarly sources, popular mythology, and artistic genius. 15 Hults, 59.
7 In her groundbreaking book, The Witch as Muse Linda C. Hults asserts that the nude witches that we see produced at this time are essentially grotesque transformations of the female body: In contrast to the classical b ody against which it is defined, the grotesque body was continually transgressive, subve rting the rule of reason and the closed-off discreteness of the individual and celeb rating the connection of the individual to the material world and to other bodies.16 In other words, Hults acknowledges the tendency of these artists to depict the female body as an open receptacle, grotesque rather than pure. This is rooted in a long-standing tradit ion that considered the female body more open because of biological cycles including pregnancy, menstruation, and lactation. This stands in contrast to traditional v iews of the male body, which is supposedly autonomous and closed-off. Images of w itches in sixteenth-century Germany tend to support this notion through their d epictions of the female form: Witchcrafts scatological, taboo and uncanny aspec ts, as well as its topicality and evolving significance during the early modern perio d, presented extraordinary opportunities for flambouyant displays of artistic invention that often hinged on an extreme degradation of women.17 As we will see, witches were not the only female forms treated in this degrading, semi-pornographic way. Baldung Griens Witches and Eve In this thesis, I argue that Hans Baldung Griens r epertoire is unique in the realm of contemporary German artistic production because some of his depictions of the Fall of Man assert the moral and intellectual inferiority o f women equally and similarly to his 16 Hults, 17. 17 Hults, 16.
8 images of witches. Hans Baldung Griens treatment o f the female form has long been recognized by scholars as erotic and sometimes maca bre: Perhaps no other artist illustrates the use of the female body as a vehicle of disorder and disruption more consistently than Drers pupil Baldung.18 When studying the works of the artist, I noticed the similar energy and tone conveyed by his two most famous chiaroscuro woodcuts, Witches Sabbath (1510)(Fig. 2.1) and Fall of Man (1511)(Fig. 3.1). Depicting two seemingly oppositional themes, images of witche s and Adam and Eve are not usually analyzed for their similarities. I believe that bec ause of the similarity between the woodcuts dates of production, chiaroscuro medium, and depictions of female sexuality, these images are actually very much comparable and perhaps were produced with the same quasi-pornographic function in mind. The state ment is bold because, to my knowledge, no in-depth comparison between Baldung G riens Witches Sabbath and Fall of Man has been attempted before. In order to show just h ow powerful Baldung Griens images would have been as vehicles to socially cont rol women, I would like to briefly summarize the recent scholarship surrounding early modern women. Gender study scholars have come far in the controversial dialogu e about the role and status of women at this time, with some believing women really did see progress and others were left asking, did women have a renaissance? Conclusions of Recent Gender Studies One of the first historians to research womens liv es, Alice Clark (1874-1934), concentrated on the early modern period, 1500-1700. Her Working Life of Women in the 18 Hults, 19.
9 Seventeenth Century, first published in 1919, established this as a dist inct period for womens history. These centuries saw a turning poin t in the treatment of women and Clarks thesis remains a major influence on modern womens studies. Clark found that the years from 1500-1700 saw an erosion of womens power and autonomy and of the respect accorded to them by society.19 Clark analyzed the working lives of women, and her evidence suggests that employment opportunities for women were shrinking in comparison to the preceding Middle Ages. Women were increasingly forced out of guilds and men took over certain lucrative positions such as midwifery and brewing. Also, as production moved out of individual households into larger workshops, the economic role of the housewife changed considerably. Clark sugges ts that when women contributed less to the family income, they lost power in society an d received less respect in turn.20 Overall the early modern period was one of decline in the case of women according to Clark. Thirty years later, the study of womens history b ecame increasingly popular and Joan Kelly-Gadol extended Clarks thesis of the ear ly modern period as one of decline for women. Specializing in Renaissance Italy, Kelly-Gad ol famously asked, Did women have a Renaissance?21 Comparing the housewife of the Renaissance treatis e to the medieval lady of courtly love lyrics, Kelly-Gadol a rgued that during the Renaissance elite women lost autonomy, power in the public sphere and the ability to choose their own lovers.22 Kelly-Gadol perhaps makes a comparison that is too extreme, arguing that 19 Cissie Fairchilds, Women in Early Modern Europe, (London: Pearson Longman, 2007): 2. 20 Fairchilds, 2. 21 Fairchilds, 2. 22 Fairchilds, 3.
10 medieval women enjoyed all of these luxuries while the Renaissance women became mere housewives, secluded in their homes to protect their reputations for chastity, their sole useful function the production of heirs for th eir husbands family lineages23. I believe that these expectations were also placed on the medieval woman, but KellyGadols work played an invaluable role in continuin g to open the controversial dialogue surrounding early modern womens studies. Clark and Kelly-Gadols work remain cornerstones for understanding the life of the earl y modern woman, despite the fact that more recent, less radical scholars have found evide nce indicating the lives of early modern women may not have been as degrading as prev iously thought. In the decades following Kelly-Gadols work, histor ians uncovered many other changes in the lives of early modern European women Some of these changes include the redefinition of the married state which stresse d the necessity of love and equality between husband and wife, a new emphasis on motherh ood as womans primary function, the spread of literacy and the growth of female self-expression in literature and the arts, changes in the legal status of women and new roles for women in the churches and the state. In her most recent study, Women in Early Modern Europe (2007), Cissie Fairchilds chooses to emphasize the challenges to and eventual destruction of traditional misogynist notions that women were inferior to men, less intelligent, more willful and inclined to sin24. She argues that from 1500 to 1700 the patriarchal paradigm was increasingly challenged by intellectuals and was ev en ignored by ordinary men and women going about their daily lives. 23 Fairchilds, 3. 24 Fairchilds, 3.
11 Fairchilds believes that the early modern female ex perience can be defined by the constant tension between the principles of patriar chalism and the forces subverting it, with the latter finally winning out.25 I believe that this interpretation by Fairchilds a nd like-minded scholars is not supported by the images produced by Hans Baldung Grien, whose female forms are lascivious, sexually invitin g, and generally aggressive. Baldung Griens images of witches and Eve serve as early fo rms of pornography, belonging to one side of the visual discussion of female sexuality. Besides the stylistic qualities which make Baldung Griens images misogynistic, certain t echnical qualities identify Witches Sabbath and Fall of Man as luxury pieces, aimed at an audience of close ma le acquaintances for personal enjoyment. These images are visual evidence that, in the early modern period, women were still being subjugated on the basis of their bodies in a private, technically advanced artistic way. The Chiaroscuro Woodcut: A Luxury Piece The chiaroscuro woodcut print was a unique inventio n of the North. Scholars believe it originated with Hans Burgkmair in 1508. Hans Baldung Grien was apparently one of the few Northern artists to utilize the medi um, as the movement was somewhat short-lived in the North. The new medium of the chi aroscuro woodcut, of which Baldung Griens Witches Sabbath is one of the first examples, allowed artists to e xplore the expressive characteristics of a colored ground but in an efficiently reproducible form. The chiaroscuro woodcut was never employed by Drer, ma rking it as an important deviation 25 Fairchilds, 4.
12 in the students work.26 This method, an advanced way to render light and s hade, required the printing of one or more tone blocks either with or without an outline block. At first, the outline block was cut in wood and often carried the complete design. But a later method involved printing only the tone blocks from wood and etching or engraving the outline. When an outline block from wood or metal w as printed in combination with one tone block only, the effect was of much lower relie f than when two or more tone blocks were used. German artists, who are responsible for originating the process, usually printed with a complete black outline block.27 This specific method is known as camaieu The composition is almost completely depicted in bl ack contour lines, and color performs an essentially ornamental role.28 26 Marrow, 115. 27 H.P.R., Woodcuts in Chiaroscuro, Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts 37 (October, 1939): 82. 28 Hilliard T. Goldfarb, Woodcut Technique and Andre a Andreani, The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 68 (November, 1981): 308.
13 The chiaroscuro technique was an advancement over t he method of color printing already in use. Witches Sabbath was completed in two colors, gray and orange. The gray chiaroscuro adds darkness to the elusive, mysteriou s nocturnal scene, while the orange chiaroscuro adds an eerie quality. In both versions the white highlights provide a painterly accent, creating in each an overall night marish scene. This is most likely one of the reasons why Baldung Grien chose the chiaroscuro medium for this fantastic theme. The artists Fall of Man was also produced in gray and orange. Baldung Grie ns Witches Sabbath and Fall of Man are extremely evocative because of the new combination of subject matter, chiaroscuro color ch oices, and the immediacy of Baldung Griens innovative cross-hatching technique. Baldung Griens Intricate Cross-Hatching Technique The prints that are the focus of this study display the distinct method of crosshatching utilized in combination with the new chiar oscuro medium. This differs from Baldung Griens previous works that were made in im itation of Drers cross-hatching technique. Drers technique did not always convey a convincing sense of volume. Baldung Grien utilized parallel hatching in order t o achieve the depth and drama lacking in works such as this. The cross-hatching is used s paringly, only in the darkest shadows. Fluent, uninterrupted lines and contours create a pulsating rhythm that animates the composition and adds to the impression of demonic p hantasmagoria, while the murky shadows of the landscape from which the forms emerg e are suggested by lighter hatching.29 The cross-hatching on the chiaroscuro makes for an evocative and haunting 29 Marrow, 114.
14 image. This technique, combined with the chiaroscur o treatment, renders Witches Sabbath and Fall of Man as more time consuming, costly, and expensive prin ts. Early Print Collecting Within the market for works of art, prints were ini tially neither rare nor relatively valuable. Yet evidence gives historians reason to b elieve that at an early date they were being sought after for their inherent qualities in addition to their devotional content, their documentary advantage, or their reflection of a par ticular style.30 Peter Parshall has collected evidence indicating that there was an att raction to certain prints as talking pieces and objects of critical assessment within le arned circles. We know that prints drew this kind of attention within Drers circle of acq uaintances, and similar practices occurred in the handling of Mantegnas prints in th e court of Mantua and within the humanist community of Bologna. In 1508 Hans Burgkma ir designed a pair of striking chiaroscuro woodcuts for Conrad Peutinger, secretar y to Emperor Maxmilian in Augsburg, a commission made in response to a simila r project of Lucas Cranach the Elder during his years at the Saxon court.31 Because of their mobility via wide distribution, prints had become a means of intimate discourse and, for artists, a sophisticated form of self-advertisement by the fir st decade of the sixteenth century. Prints were effective vehicles for exchange of idea s because of their affordability, small size, and mass production. 30 Peter Parshall, Art and the Theater of Knowledge: The Origins of Print Collecting in Northern Europe, Harvard University Art Museums Bulletin 2 (Spring, 1994): 7. 31 Parshall, 9.
15 Prints were small, transportable, and relatively in expensive to produce. But the chiaroscuro print was different. It was an intricat e process, taking more time, therefore being more costly. The chiaroscuro print would not have been mass-produced to the extent of the simple black and white image. Being a relatively new medium, prints required marketing and were inclined to induce the phenomenon of collecting since they were easily attainable. This is especially so for t he more luxurious chiaroscuro print that would have been appealing to the more wealthy patro n. Most of the evidence of northern print selling and collecting comes from the records of Drer. In his Netherlandish Diary he records the distribution of many prints, sometim es sold outright, sometimes exchanged for goods or services, sometimes given out of gener osity or in the hope of receiving future patronage.32 Scholars have come to the conclusion that the audie nce for images such as Witches Sabbath and Fall of Man was most likely the male acquaintances of the arti sts: Drer wanted to address an elite male audience wit h his early engravings, including those about witches, and beginning with Baldung, a tradition of intimate, often erotic drawings of witches that were intended for a small group of male friends develops.33 While women might have been exposed to images such as these by accident, these prints were made by men, for men. One can suppose, because of the known acquaintances of Hans Baldung Grien, that these men were well-educat ed and in positions of religious and political authority. 32 David Landau and Peter Parshall, The Renaissance Print: 1470-1550, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994): 64. 33 Hults, 24.
16 Collectable Images as Means of Control It is evident that Hans Baldung Griens Witches Sa bbath and Fall of Man were luxury prints, affordable only to those of the uppe r-class. Evidence also indicates that the more explicit woodcut images of nude women such as witches or Eve were typically produced for the male friends of the German artists I believe that to own one of these chiaroscuro prints would have been an exercise in c ontrol over the stereotypically unruly woman, witches and Eve. This control over women wa s exercised by both the artist and the audience: Because they addressed, albeit provocatively or amb ivalently at times, a problem that was of great concern to many educated segments of early modern society (physicians, lawyers, judges, theolo gians, humanists, rulers) images of witches could link artists to the se sources of power, prestige, and patronage Images of witchcraft helpe d male artists enhance their status by proving their imaginative a nd intellectual prowess to peers or superiors and by aligning themselves wi th the rhetorical and political strategies of elite groups or individuals .34 In the first chapter, I will conclude that Hans Bal dung Griens Witches Sabbath pictorially conveys the destructive force of unbrid led and uncontrolled female sexuality. The aggressive and highly energetic image has both agricultural and sexual implications that make it clear to the viewer that these women a re dangerous. Witches typically cannot be controlled in an earthly sense. Baldung Griens image captures the erotic and highly energized behavior of witches in an accessible, obt ainable, and private medium. Some scholars have identified witchcraft as possibly emp owering for women who may not have 34 Hults, 24.
17 had other social options, but Linda C. Hults contra dicts this when she notes, the artistic images tell us about mens agency.35 In the second chapter, I show how Baldung Griens Fall of Man is uniquely eroticized. This image depicting Adam and Eves dis obedience in the garden is clearly unprecedented and has been called the first highly eroticized version of this theme. Eves sexual invitation is foregrounded in the image, con veying the same sexual aggression found in Witches Sabbath Destruction is a key element that is also present in this image. In this case, Eves sexual aggression causes the gr eatest destruction in all of Christianity, the destruction of human purity and the reason why we are all born with original sin. The image is pornographic, showing a dangerously beauti ful Eve that even Adam and God could not control. Owning the image was a way of en joying and controlling Eve in a private way. Linda C. Hults summarizes the ethnographical aspec t of my thesis poignantly: Visual art in the early modern period was frequentl y complicit in the social control of women, not only in the way it pre sented them in portraits, genre, or religious scenes but also in the way it e xcluded them from increasingly exalted notions about how art is creat ed. Witchcraft images participate in the doubly antifeminist, reciprocal relationship of male artistic creativity and feminine evil.36 Witches Sabbath and Fall of Man essentially convey the same message of warning against the destructive powers of an unbridled fema le sexuality. These messages are conveyed through stylistic aspects, advanced techni cal qualities providing realistic affect, and through symbolic iconography. Because they were made by a man, for a wealthy 35 Hults, 25. 36 Hults, 26.
18 male audience, I believe both images served the fun ction of collectors items that satisfied a misogynistic desire for control over th ese typically unruly women. Implicit in this thesis are ideas that can be categ orized as not only art historical, but ethnographical and epistemological. I am essent ially aiming to explore one aspect of the status of female sexuality in early modern Germ any by using the images produced at this time as evidence of social opinion. My argumen t is not focused on a relationship of causality (e.g. Hans Baldung Grien created these i mages because of new circulating ideas or These new ideas became accepted by socie ty because of images such as Hans Baldung Griens). Rather, I use images to suppleme nt textual sources such as treatises and sermons, with the main goal of helping historia ns construct an idea of the true status of sexuality in the past. Since witches and the Fal l of Man were the two artistic themes that saw the largest increase of production at this time, I believe its relevant to study them together closely. I chose to study Hans Baldung Grien because his tre atment of these themes deviates from artistic tradition in a way that I th ink is telling of male notions of sexuality. I have noticed that witches and Eve are rarely disc ussed for their similarities, aside from being vehicles for the artist to display his skill at depicting the female nude. Despite being previously considered parts of two separate s pheres, religious and secular, I believe Baldung Griens depictions of Eve and witches conve y a similar message regarding the contemporary fear of female sexuality and the misog ynistic desire to control it.
19 II Witches Between 1510 and 1544 Hans Baldung Grien created a notable group of works on the theme of witches, a theme that would fascinate him for the rest of his life. Baldung Grien almost always created these images in the sma ll and intimate media of prints or drawings.37 In 1510 Baldung Grien created his woodcut Witches Sabbath. It is perhaps the first single-leaf print to treat this theme.38 This work was executed as a single-leaf chiaroscuro woodcut, a process used to imitate the effect of pen drawings on colored paper. Two copies of Witches Sabbath exist, one in orange chiaroscuro (Fig. 1) and one in grey (Fig. 2). As we will see, Baldung Griens W itches Sabbath is an unusually sexualized depiction of a newly popular, highly sup erstitious theme. The woodcut reflects a new attitude toward witches, one that combines old and new ideas, in the same way that it displays a blend of old and new techniques. As David Landau and Peter Parshall argue, the increasingly indirect relation of maker to purchaser entailed in printmaking meant that speculation and experimentation became guiding principles within the aesthetic and iconographic pr eferences of the medium.39 Traditional myths about witches, such as flying, po tion-making, and rituals, are combined with Baldung Griens unique addition of an overwhel ming sexuality. 37 Christiane Andersson, "Baldung, Hans," in Grove Ar t Online. Oxford Art Online, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/g rove/art/T005901 (accessed February 5, 2010). 38 Andersson. 39 David Landau and Peter Parshall, The Renaissance Print: 1470-1550 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994): 12.
20 Figure 1. Hans Baldung Grien, The Witches Sabbath 1510, Pen and ink heightened with white on redbrown paper, 28.7 x 20.5 cm, Graphische Sammlung Al bertina, Vienna, Austria.(photo: Wikipedia)
21 Figure 2. Hans Baldung Grien, The Witches Sabbath 1510, Chiaroscuro woodcut in two blocks, printed in gray and black, 38.9 x 27 cm, The Metrop olitan Museum of Art, New York. (photo: ARTstor) Traditional Representations of Witches in Art Witches were rarely represented in art before the e nd of the fifteenth century. For a multitude of vague and undefined reasons, mostly relating to church policy, there is no deep-rooted pictorial tradition of witches. Random images of sexually dominant women exist from antiquity, such as Medea and Medusa. But it isnt until the last quarter of the fifteenth century that we see a reawakening of the theme of generic witches. This change coincided with the appearance of several important demonological treatises, most notably the Malleus Maleficarum While the members of the lower classes would have been familiar with traditional folklore and mythology su rrounding witches, the upper classes,
22 including intellectuals and churchmen, would have a lso been familiar with the ideas in these newly released treatises. The Influence of the Hammer of the Witches Published in 1486, only a generation after the intr oduction of printing by moveable type in Western Europe, the Malleus Maleficarum was the main authority on witches affairs throughout Europe. Christopher Mac kay in his new translation of the Malleus clarifies the role of this type of treatise in con temporary society. There is no external evidence to indicate that, eve n when people were involved in magical practices, they conceived of th emselves as acting in accordance with the conception of sorcery laid out in the Malleus Rather, the sorts of views propagated by tracts like the Malleus were imposed on the traditional nonsystematic magical beliefs of po pular culture The major significance of the Malleus lies in the role it played in the dissemination and widespread acceptance of the elab orated theory of witchcraft what was new was the notion that sorce ry by itself represented a special form of heresy that played an important part in Satans plans for the Final Days Malleus takes this notion and fully argues it in terms of the cosmological interpretati on of the world as propounded by Thomas Aquinas. 40 Heinrich Institor (1430-1505), Prior of Cologne, an d James Sprenger (14371495), Dean of Cologne University, are identified a s the creators of the Malleus Fully sanctioned by the papacy, it was essentially writte n as a how to book for witch hunters. It describes the nature of witchcraft and its main practitioners. It is said that Innocent VIII believed persons of both sexes could be disciples of witchcraft, but Institor and Sprenger blatantly singled out women in the Malleus. Questions asked include why it is that women are chiefly addicted to evil superstitio ns and what sort of women are found 40 Christopher S Mackay, The Hammer of Witches: A Complete Translation of th e Malleus Maleficarum (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009): 31-3 3.
23 to be above all others superstitious and witches. Fashioned from a combination of local superstitions, heretical beliefs, Celtic and German ic folklore, and biblical and patristic writings on the question of evil, the treatise by I nstitor and Sprenger defined witches as people, mostly female, who denounced the faith, dev oted themselves body and soul to evil, and indulged in diabolical activities such as causing storms, rendering men impotent, and copulating with devils.41 Figure 3. Ulrich Molitar, Devil Seducing a Witch 1489, Woodcut, data: University of California, San Diego. (photo: ARTstor) Few witchcraft treatises fail to mention the lustfu l character of the witch, and this is one of the major themes in the Malleus. The sexual relationship believed to exist between witches and Satan is displayed in Ulrich Mo litars Devil Seducing a Witch (1489) (Fig. 3). The Malleus confirms, To conclude. All witchcraft comes from c arnal 41 Dorinda Neave, The Witch in Early 16th-Century German Art, Womens Art Journal 9 (1988): 4.
24 lust, which is in women insatiable. 42 The twelve reprintings of the Malleus that were undertaken in Germany and France in the years 14861519 attest to a regular demand for the work and the rapid spread of its ideology. In t he later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was the works of other authors that w hipped up the frenzy for witch hunting, but those works were effective only because of the paradigm shift that the Malleus had brought about in the late fifteenth and early sixte enth centuries. 43 Figure 4. Anonymous Artists, A Woman Milks a Cow While a Witch Attempts to Steal Milk from Its Belly, from BUCH DER TUGEND or Book of Virtue, 1486, Wood cut, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 85, German Book Illustration before 1500: Anonymous Art ists, 1484-86. (photo: ARTstor) Depictions of Witches in the Century Before Baldung Grien This new interest in the theme is visually evidence d particularly by two early anonymous illustration series. The first is from th e 1486 Buch der Tugend or Book of 42 Neave, 5. 43 Mackay, 33.
25 Virtue. These images depict witches hindering agric ultural success in various ways. Themes from this anonymous series include witches s tealing milk from a farmers cow (Fig. 4), witches purposely evoking bad weather (Fi g. 5), and witches tapping wine from a stolen keg (Fig. 6). The technical treatment is v astly inferior to that of the later artists being discussed, but the sheer existence of this se ries shows that witches hindrance of agricultural practices was a notion increasing in p opularity. Figure 5. Anonymous Artists, Witch Using a Bone to Summon a Hailstorm from BUCH DER TUGEND or Book of Virtue, 1486, Woodcut, The Illust rated Bartsch, Vol. 85, German Book Illustration before 1500: Anonymous Artists, 1484-86. (photo: AR Tstor) The second set of early illustrations is from the 1 490 Tractatus von den Bosen Weibern or Treatise on Witches. These images provide us w ith evidence of the rumored ritual practices by witches as well as general witc h characteristics. Almost always a woman, she was portrayed as Satans agent in human affairs. She also flew through the air on brooms, pitchforks or goats (Fig. 7), concoc ted strange potions (Fig. 8), and engaged in vile eating habits such as cannibalism. These images provide us with visual evidence of just how cemented rumors about witches were at this time. What is clearly absent is the sexual objectification of the witch.
26 Figure 6. Anonymous Artists, Witch Secretly Tapping a Wine Cask; Another Takes o n the Appearance of a Cat from BUCH DER TUGEND or Book of Virtue, 1486, Wood cut, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 85, German Book Illustration before 1500: Anonymous Art ists, 1484-86. (photo: ARTstor) These illustrated series helped construct a portrai t that found fertile ground in popular superstitions of the day and also received widespread sanction in civil, ecclesiastical, and intellectual circles. In German -speaking lands the folklore surrounding witchcraft took an especially strong hold. In Stras bourg, leading figures such as Sebastian Brant, Johann Geiler von Kaisersberg and Thomas Mur ner all wrote or preached on the subject of witches during the early sixteenth-centu ry.44 44 James H. Marrow. Hans Baldung Grien: Prints and Drawings (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1981): 114.
27 Figure 7. Anonymous Artists, Witch riding on a Wolf, from TRACTATUS VON DEN BOSEN WEIBERN or Treatise on Witches, 1490, Woodcut, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 87, German Book Illustration before 1500: Anonymous Artists, 1489-9 1. (photo: ARTstor) Figure 8. Anonymous Artists, Rooster and Serpent Thrown into a Witchs Brew from TRACTATUS VON DEN BOSEN WEIBERN or Treatise on Witc hes, 1490, Woodcut, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 87, German Book Illustration before 1 500: Anonymous Artists, 1489-91. (photo: ARTstor)
28 Detailed Analysis of Witches Sabbath The composition of Witches Sabbath is methodical and carefully calculated. The action is symmetrically framed on the right by a co mpletely vertical dead tree and on the left by the swirling wave of vapor released from th e central jar. The figures are placed symmetrically in a variation of a pyramidal organiz ation. Two witches in the foreground frame the two witches closer together in the middle ground, and a single flying witch crowns the formation. The pitchforks also frame the scene, with three on the ground and one horizontally connecting the vapor and tree at t he top. The symmetry is interrupted by cluttering detail, creating the sense of organized chaos that characterized contemporary thought regarding witches. Their Sabbath was a loos ely organized ritual with a specific, guided purpose, but the influence of Satan, their i nnate lascivious behavior, and their tendency to consume hallucinogenic potions rendered all of their activities somewhat wild and unpredictable. Direct compositional influence came from Albrecht Altdorfers Witches Sabbath (1506) (Fig. 9). Historians have identified it as t he most thematically and stylistically parallel contemporary image. Similarities include t he placement of witches in a landscape, the disposition of certain figures, the emphatic gestures, the chiaroscuro medium, and the general subject matter. The major d ifference is the amount of space allotted to the surrounding environment; Altdorfer s landscape is just as prominent and active as the figures, while Baldung Griens is cle arly overwhelmed by witch activity in the foreground. This difference is vast and importa nt: the emphasis is shifted to the physically aggressive figures.
29 Figure 9. Albrecht Altdorfer, Witches Sabbath 1506, Pen on pale brown tinted paper, Musee du Lo uvre, Paris. (photo: Web Gallery of Art) The vapor being released from the central jar is i ndicative of one of the most commonly held contemporary beliefs about witches an d would have been immediately identifiable. It was thought that the witchs prefe rred weapon of choice was poison. Ingrid Ahrendt-Schulte provides evidence proving ho w strong the belief in the witchs use of poison was, based on crime scene evidence fr om the German city of Horn, as well as linguistic origins: Women had a broad range of magical means of attack according to contemporary culture but the word for magical mean s is Vergift, or in the language of the protocols, venenum. The focus on poison emphasizes that witchcraft was not just some sort of idle fant asy or imaginary compensation, but an active assertion of power; poi sons could be used to
30 kill an abusive husband or, in one specific case, a powerful male relative involved in a property dispute. 45 Ahrendt-Schulte provides passed-down anecdotal evid ence as well. A certain Giovanna Bonanno, an old vinegar lady, was shown to have s upplied poison to a number of dissatisfied wives in Palermo. The old witch in Wit ches Sabbath represents this type of stereotypical crone. Similar stories are seen in the cases contained in a sample of small witch trials in Wrttemberg, just west of Strasbourg; 23 of the tot al 73 allegations of malefic crime specified poisoning and sorcery used to harm a spec ific victim.46 Neighbors and peers were turning in one another over disputes and suspi cions of witchcraft, and clearly it was understood that witches commonly used herbal potion s to carry out their whims. The evidence suggests that the average person would hav e been very familiar with stories about witches poisoning someone they knew or had he ard about. The vessels, chanting, wailing, and vapor in Witches Sabbath imply this creation and use of poison with malicious intent. Another allusion being made by the vessels and vapo r is to the witches use of ointment. Witches were presumed to fly with the aid of a magic salve that they smeared over their bodies and vehicles for transportation. The ointment, which consisted of revolting ingredients such as aconite, belladonna, and unbaptized babies, was sometimes applied to the genitals for extra power.47 We known Baldung Grien was familiar with this theory because of the explicit allusions made in hi s Three Witches (1514) (Fig. 10). 45 Edward Bever, Witchcraft, Female Aggression, and Power in the Early Modern Community, Journal of Social History 35 (Summer, 2002): 959. 46 Bever, 960. 47 Neave, 6.
31 Three nude women, one old and two young, are intert wined in sexually suggestive positions creating the familiar triangular composit ion of Witches Sabbath The lack of surrounding details places all of the emphasis on t he actions of the bodies. The witch at the right rubs her genitals, presumably with the oi ntment from the flaming jar in her other hand. Baldung Grien captures the innately lustful n atures of witches as well as their use of ointment for flight, which is implied by the gra dual rising motion of their bodies. The highly sexualized imagery of this drawing also points toward the nature of these witch images as quasi-pornographic. It is obv ious that lesbian activity is being alluded to by the postures and gestures of the thre e witches. I believe this drawing is not only an artists exercise in creating interesting n ude forms and experimenting with themes, but it is also a drawing meant to be enjoye d by his male friends, an object meant to arouse male desires. Enjoying this image was a s ecret exercise of ownership and control over these wild women. Its empty background and lack of intricate technical qualities are the only aspects keeping this image f rom being another luxury male collectors item.
32 Figure 10. Hans Baldung Grien, Three Witches 1514, Pen and ink drawing, 7 x 5, The Louvre. (photo: Wikipedia) Agricultural Implications Animal skulls look on at the witches forebodingly f rom the bottom left corner. An animals internal organ sits on the ground, separat e and detached from its owners body. These elements are indicators of the types of ritua ls believed to be practiced by witches; in case studies of contemporary witch trials in Wur ttemberg, there were twenty-four allegations of purposeful harm to animals. Two are specified as poison and three as an indefinable occult influence.48 One of the anonymous images of the 1490 series dep icts two witches throwing a rooster and serpent into a b oiling cauldron (Fig. 8). It is obvious that the witches are doing this as part of a ritual because of the emphasis of the storm clouds and rain seen above, which are being summone d by the killing of the animals. The 48 Bever, 960.
33 cauldron and storm clouds frame this narrative, whi ch shows the power of the witches and their lack of concern for killing living creatu res in order to control the natural environment. Farmsteads in villages across Europe were crowded t ogether, and it could be impossible to lock away or constantly supervise ani mals. Since most peasants and lower class citizens could afford to support at most a fe w animals, the loss of one was a major economic blow. While many times the loss of an anim al was coincidental, a few confessions exist to show that sometimes animals we re harmed on purpose. One Magdalena Horn spontaneously confessed that she h ad injured her neighbors pigs and a cow, and when questioned the owners said that the animals had indeed sickened at the same time.49 One of the illustrations from the Buch der Tugend depicts a witch stealing milk from another mans cow, visually attesting to the fear of ones animals safety (Fig. 4). Protection of ones animals was a grave issue f or those who relied on them for sustenance. The witches in Baldung Griens piece sit amidst a d ense, yet dead landscape. The ground is barren and the tree at the left has no br anches or limbs. The sky is black and full of languid, wispy clouds. This dark and ominou s setting alludes to witches rumored abilities to evoke bad weather, destroy plant life (including harvests and crops), create overall destruction and death, and to their volatil e natures. One illustration from the Buch der Tugend depicts a witch raising some type of animal bone to the sky with the purpose of evoking bad weather (Fig. 5). Evidence shows tha t this could possibly be related to 49 Bever, 961.
34 actual weather patterns and harvest failures experi enced in the Strasbourg area at this time. Jacob Trausch, a chronicler of Strasbourg, provides us with data of harvests and general agricultural conditions. Agricultural produ ction and prices in the period from 1480 to 1520 were subject to a relatively regular s wing between good and bad years. The years from 1493 to 1507 were good agricultural year s; wine prices dropped to four or five florins a fuder for the best, and rye and wheat sold at low prices The beginning of 1508 saw a cold spring with bad storms, and a decade of late frosts, drought, and crop failure followed.50 This necessarily resulted in high prices, marking the period just before the Reformation, the time in which Baldung Grien produc ed these woodcuts, as one of local despair. Miriam Chrisman argues that these variatio ns were accepted as inevitable and natural by the people, and it would seem unwise to try to correlate the rise and fall of agricultural prices with the social unrest at this period.51 While this may be true, it is clear that the popularity of images depicting witch es invoking stormy weather, stealing or destroying crops, and purposely foiling farmers, is most likely explained by this natural phenomenon. Gender Implications The tension between male and female is very much p resent in this image despite the absence of men. On the left side can be seen a pitchfork from which hang various limp sausages and a gourd. The limp sausages are ph allic symbols that stand out amidst a 50 Miriam Usher Chrisman, Strasbourg and the Reform: A Study in the Process o f Change, (New Haven: Yale U Press, 1967): 11-12. 51 Chrisman, 11-12.
35 group of women. The artist deliberately makes this detail as an allusion to witches rumored ability to render men impotent. The Malleus outlines how witches accomplished this feat in part two, chapter seven: First, it mu st in no way be believed that such members are really torn right away from the body, b ut that they are hidden by the devil through some prestidigatory art so that they can be neither seen nor felt.52 Adding to the overall eerie appearance of the image, viewers woul d have associated these limp sausages being handled by the witches as a serious threat. Five specific objects in the scene indicate the ov erwhelming power of the female by alluding to her reproductive organs. The jar fro m which the vapor is released is the first and most noticeable. It sits in between the l egs of the closest witch and is decorated with strange markings, possibly Hebrew or imaginary Satanic lettering. The vapor coming out of the jar, a release that is controlled by the witch, is clearly a representation of a sexual release occurring as part of their Sabb ath ritual. This release, in the form of the vapor, is an overwhelming element of the print; it practically takes up the entire left side. The second object is the gourd hanging from t he pitchfork amidst the limp sausages. By juxtaposing the gourd with the sausages, Baldung Grien clearly wants the viewer to connect the witches activity with sexuality. The l impness of the sausages compared to the solid and intact gourd indicates a negatively u nequal sexual connection. An irresistible sense of female sexual power and destr uction is evident. The third symbol for the powerful female womb is t he cup being held up by the witch in the left foreground. It is being elevated and raised up as if in praise. This can also be seen as the witch lifting up the cup to dem and that it be filled. The jar wedged in 52 Neave, 6.
36 between the pitchfork held up by the witch flying o n the goat is the fourth powerful womb symbol. Not only is the jar wedged between the pitchfork tongs as if in between two legs, but the witch who holds the contraption t ogether looks out at the viewer invitingly. To mimic the end of the pitchfork and t ying the association together, the witchs legs are spread apart invitingly on the bac k of the demonic goat. The backwardseated witch is closely linked with the theories of contemporary witch hunters. It was believed that everything in Satans realm was the reverse of the natural process.53 Finally, the old witch, whose body and face can bar ely be seen behind the three foremost witches, holds up a type of bowl with a lo ng stick. The bowl ends up being directly in front of the hind legs of the flying go at. This bowl, like the cup at the left side, is being held up like an offering or a praise to Sa tan, their lord and husband. The platter being raised up in the central middle ground as wel l as the overturned platter in the foreground also indicate offerings and serve as sym bolic vessels waiting to be filled. The Malleus identifies midwives as the most dangerous women of all, thought to surpass all others in wickedness.54 The dominant womb symbols surrounding the limp sausages and dead landscape all serve to push this image beyond the realm of narrative by signifying the dangerous sexuality of women and the danger of the midwife who could hinder healthy childbirth. While it was obvio us that not all women were witches or midwives who used their sexuality to bring destruct ion to mankind, the general suggestion of the wombs dominance over the penis w ould have most definitely been noted and immediately makes Witches Sabbath relevant in the realm of early modern German gender studies. 53 Neave, 5. 54 Neave, 4.
37 Gender Fears In his study on witches in the early modern period, Edward Bever makes the important assertion that contemporary men and women alike would have been afraid of a female witch doing personal harm to them: The popular association of woman and witchcraft was both ancient and widespread, common to many cultures worldwide, and far back into antiquity, and popular concern was not with the nat ure of evil or even the danger of the Devil, but rather with specific harms attributed to a neighbors malefic powers. 55 Indeed, ten of the seventy-three allegations of wi tchcraft in contemporary Wurttemberg name physical assault as the crime comm itted.56 Baldungs emphasis on physicality, manifested directly via the witches e mphatic gestures and powerful bodies, reflects the contemporary fear of witches physicall y harming other people and animals. At this time in Strasbourg when harvests were being destroyed and physical power translated into livelihood, the fear of witches who could deliberately bring about bad weather and place curses on neighbors was real. Witches Sabbath reflects this fear with a unique emphasis on sexua lity, characterized by an all-female cast of characters, limp sausages, and aggressive body language. It connects the popular myth surrounding witches with deep-rooted male fears regarding superior female physical power. Jacob Bin ks A Witch Beating the Devil (Fig. 11) shows the believed severity of a witchs physic al wrath and is somewhat shocking because it displays a woman beating a masculine fig ure. Witches Sabbath simultaneously contributes to both the general fear of witches as well as the deeply rooted 55 Bever, 957. 56 Bever, 960.
38 fear of the power of female sexuality. In summary, Baldung Griens Witches Sabbath while seemingly commenting on the simple folklore o f the witch, also contributed to the ongoing dialogue surrounding the role of the unruly female in early modern Germany. Figure 11. Jacob Bink, A Witch Beating the Devil Engraving, 7.2 cm x 5.4 cm, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 16, Early German Masters. (photo: ART stor) Witches Sabbath depicts an entire group of these similarly strong, aggressive, unbridled women. The general societal fear of the p ower of witches is one more reason why owning this image would have been exciting and arousing to a wealthy male patron, one who is separated from yet intrigued by these st range and wild women. Drers The Witch As a student of Drer, Baldung Grien was deeply inf luenced by the master on a technical and stylistic level. One scholar calls th e witches in Witches Sabbath plastic and actualized, clearly derived from Drer, but th e emphasis on their physicality and
39 their indecorous postures are uniquely Baldung Grie ns.57 Drers The Witch (c.1500-02) (Fig. 12) was likely to have been seen by Baldung G rien since it was produced during our artists time as a journeyman in the masters works hop. The Witch indicative of Drers overall style, was obviously a major influence on B aldung Grien because it was perhaps the most borrowed and copied northern contemporary witch image. It serves as a fruitful comparison piece, indicating just how unique Baldun g Griens depiction of witches is. Figure 12. Albrecht Drer, The Witch 1500-01, Engraving on Paper, 11.5 x 7.1 cm, Sterl ing and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massach usetts, 1968.63. (photo:ARTstor) The Witch depicts an old woman flying backwards on a large g oat. She holds a spindle as a queen would hold a staff. The spindle alludes to weaving, which has 57 Marrow, 115.
40 traditionally been womans work.58 It is not surprising to see this symbol, which ali gns with the new notions of witches as typically female Note the clear lack of sexual invitation in her posture and how this compares to the witch flying on the goat in Witches Sabbath The presence of only one female witch significant ly decreases the suggestion of female sexual dominance that infuses Witches Sabbath, with its frenzy of female activity. The single witch is old, as one ca n see from her body. This type of body would not have excited the same feelings in a male patron as would the nubile figures in Witches Sabbath There seems to be no reference to the male sex an d, aside from the nudity, sexuality is not alluded to at all. Four putti sit and stand in the foreground. As fanciful repre sentatives of mythology, the putti add an element of whimsical fantasy that contrasts with the haunting personality of Witches Sabbath The five figures create a circular, organic compo sition in contrast to the sharp triangular formation of th e witches in Baldung Griens pieces. The calm seascape makes The Witch seem peaceful compared to the dead, mossy wilderness of Witches Sabbath All of this results in an image that is less ene rgetic, less sexually charged, and focused on myth rather than r eality. I believe that in comparison to Witches Sabbath The Witch does not contribute to the ongoing dialogue surrou nding the role of the female in early modern Germany. In comparing the two images it is clear that there is a lack of social commentary in Drer s piece, making Baldung Griens all the more complex and compelling. 58 Neave, 5.
41 Conclusions All of these agricultural and physical implications allude to the early modern German fear of witches. Analysis of Witches Sabbat h explains why Baldung Griens was a very powerful image for a society that relied on agriculture for sustenance. The emphasis on the state of the physical environment w ould have been identifiable and meaningful to the people of Strasbourg, and elsewhe re. The dead landscape, the skeletons of animals, the strong and aggressive postures of t he witches, and the venomous substances were witch signifiers that were part of the common societal dialogue. Sexually lascivious implications, which are emphasized in po pular contemporary ecclesiastical treatises such as the Malleus Maleficarum would have been more understood by the literate urban upper class. This is also the group of people that would have been able to afford to collect higher quality prints such as Wit ches Sabbath Baldung Grien emphasizes the sexual aspect of witch es to an extent that no other artist had done previously, making his images eroti cally provocative and aligning them with the emphasis on carnality found in the Malleus The strong sexual element emphasized in the treatises that would have been fa miliar to the literate urban upper class, combined with the more expensive colored chiaroscur o medium, would have made these images appealing to this wealthier group of citizen s who can be thought of as early art collectors. It is for these reasons why I believe W itches Sabbath was geared toward a male audience for private ownership and amusement. It is an example of early quasipornography, which I believe is evident compared to the rudimentary images of witches we see before Baldung Grien as well as his master D rers rendering of the theme. What
42 is even more interesting about Baldung Griens repe rtoire is that the same aggressive female sexuality exists in his most famous image of Adam and Eve, Fall of Man.
43 III The Fall of Man Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the be asts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Wh y hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tre e of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree wh ich is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the s erpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God dot h know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall b e opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. And the woman sa w that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful t o behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her hus band who did eat. (Genesis 3: 1-6) 59 No part of the Bible has been reproduced and interp reted so often as the third chapter of Genesis, specifically the moment of the Fall from Grace. This moment occupies a disproportionately large space in both t ext and image in the Western tradition. Theologically it is the single event that both requ ired and precipitated mankinds subsequent redemption, and was thus an act that und erlay the very foundation of Christianity, Jesus redemptive death. 60 The ambiguity of the biblical text and the two different versions of the Creation has intrigued sc holars and theologians and allowed for a multitude of interpretations. When studied chrono logically, these interpretations can inform us of changing definitions of gender roles t hroughout time. Hans Baldung Griens Fall of Man (Fig.1) is a depiction of the story of the Fall li ke no other. 59 Douay-Rheims Translation, from www.drbo.org 60 Ruth B. Bottigheimer, Publishing, Print, and Chan ge in the Image of Eve and the Apple 1470-1570, Archive for Reformation History (1995): 202.
44 Figure 1. Hans Baldung Grien, Fall of Man 1511, Woodcut, 37.1 cm x 25.1 cm, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 12, (photo:ARTstor)
45 Visually, the Fall from Grace allowed artistic free dom; depicting Adam and Eve before and during the Fall was one of the few p ermissible scenes of human nudity during the first 1500 years of Western Christian hi story. Depicting the moments during the Fall also allowed the artist flexibility to inc lude interpretive elements. Conflicting ideas about who bore responsibility for the Fall fr om Grace conditioned the creation of many pictorial interpretations of the Fall. It is e vident in social history that images accompanying the Creation story tended to fill in t he blanks of the text, creating and reflecting understandings of the narrative. It had long been thought that Eve was the more responsible for the introduction of sin and death i nto the world, but the visual means of suggesting this changed dramatically with the adven t of the printing press.61 Figure 2 Grandval Bible, fol. 5v, ca. 840 AD, 20 x 15, British Library, London, From ArtStor. 61 Bottigheimer, 205.
46 Traditional Depictions of the Fall of Man Images depicting Adam and Eve have been produced si nce the birth of Christianity because their story is so integral to the sects ideology. The theme is one of the most popular in Christian art. To analyze the g eneral theme of Adam and Eve in art from the time of Jesus to the years of Hans Baldung Grien would be time-consuming and fruitless. I have chosen some of the most influenti al and recognizable images depicting Adam and Eve that represent what I will call the tr aditional depiction of the Fall of Man. These works, some of which were known to have been seen by Hans Baldung Grien himself, highlight Eves dominance over Adam and em phasize the physical resemblance between Satan and Eve. These traditional images, ma sterpieces considered extremely influential in their own day, placed all of the bla me for the Fall on Eve, but did not place emphasis on Adam and Eves sexuality. One of the earliest depictions of the story of the Creation, Fall and Expulsion from the Garden is found in the Moutier-Grandval Bi ble (ca. 840) (Fig.2). The image is meant to be read like a text, from left to right an d top to bottom. The narrative of Genesis is laid out chronologically and straightforwardly. The moment of the temptation is in the third line of the narrative. At the left, the viewe r sees Eve standing alone next to the tree of life, taking the apple at the behest of the serp ent. Directly next to this scene, Eve hands the apple to Adam who hesitatingly takes a bite. Th e line is completed by Adam and Eves expulsion from the garden by God. This image is important because it indicates the blame placed solely on Eve from the early centuries of the Middle Ages. Absent from the
47 picture is any physical contact between Adam and Ev e or other indicators of sexuality. The image is rudimentary but its message is clear. Figure 3 Limbourg Brothers, Fall of Man fol. 25v, from the Trs Riches Heures de Duc de B erry, c. 1411-1416, Muse Cond Chantilly, Paris, From Wi kipedia. The next image to be discussed was produced five ce nturies after the MoutierGrandval Bible. The Fall of Man (Fig. 3) from the Trs Riches Heures (c. 1411-1416 ) is a nice comparison with the Grandval Bible because it too is an illustration from a religious text (a book of hours) and conveys a similar messag e but in an importantly different way. Perhaps one of the most recognizable images from th e late Middle Ages, the Trs Riches Heures Fall of Man was a masterpiece in its day. The Limbourg Brother s depict the
48 garden of paradise as an enclosed space surrounded by rock and desert. Like in the Grandval Bible, the events of Genesis are juxtapose d creating a continuous narrative. Eve stands alone next to the tree of life at the left, yet there is something quite different about the serpent in this image. The serpents upper body almost exactly resembles Eve. Their hair, skin tone, and sexuality all indicate a mirro r likeness. To the right, when Eve brings the apple to Adam, she physically overtakes him. He is kneeling down, visibly overpowered by Eves influence. The Limbourg brothe rs place sole blame on Eve, an idea that we have seen is rooted in tradition, and they render Satan as an Eve look-alike. This is just one more example of the types of tradi tional renditions of the story of the Fall of Man. Figure 4. Hubert van Eyck completed by Jan van Eyck Adoration of the Mystic Lamb in the Ghent Altarpiece, 3.65 x 4.87 m (wings open), c. 1423-143 2, Oil on Panel, Sint-Baafskathedraal te Gent. (pho to: ARTstor)
49 Hubert and Jan van Eycks Ghent Altarpiece was certainly seen by Hans Baldung Grien (Fig. 4). Jan van Eyck was an artistic pionee r in the North, credited with inventing oil paint. The altarpiece remains one of the most b eautiful and influential masterpieces to come out of the early Northern Renaissance. In the upper portion of each open wing can be seen Adam and Eve after the Fall. Adam stands in the left wing (from the perspective of the viewer). A small portal above Adams head is a narrative depiction of Cain and Abel farming the earth. Eve stands opposite him in the right wing. The narrative being depicted above Eves head is the moment when Cain k ills his brother Abel. The fact that Eve stands to the left of God, seated in the center and her juxtaposition with Cains murder serve to implicate her as the more blamewort hy figure of the two. Once again, noticeably absent is the physical, sexual connectio n between Adam and Eve. Not only do they not touch, but they are separated as far as po ssible from one another. The Fall by Hugo van der Goes is another influential early Northern Renaissance masterpiece (Fig. 5). Adam and Eve stand on the lef t side of the tree while Satan stands on the right. Adam and Eve are almost looking directly at the viewer. Satans face closel y resembles Eves; van der Goes has depicted it as a female, an artistic convention gaining in popularity. Pictorially, it seems as though Bald ung Grien saw this image and extracted inspiration from it. In Baldung Griens Fall of Man Adam and Eve both stand on the left side of the tree and they similarly gaze out at the viewer. It is quite possible because of the geographic proximity of the two artists hometo wns and Drers constant travels that Baldung Grien very well might have seen a copy of t his painting. In the van der Goes, Eves transgression is still emphasized by her arm reaching up for the apple and her close
50 resemblance to Satan. The sexual relationship betwe en her and Adam is still not a central focus and Eve is still completely to blame. Figure 5. Hugo van der Goes, The Fall from the Diptych of the Fall and the Redemption, after 1479, Oil on Panel, 32.3 x 21.9 cm, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wie n. (photo: ARTstor) Overall, these canonical images indicate the shift ing method of placing sole blame on Eve for the Fall of Man. In each image, Adam is treated as a victim with more sense than his partner. What is clear from the images is that Adam and Eves sexual relationship was not alluded to or identified as a cause or result of their Fall. We do not see this clearly until Hans Baldung Griens Fall of Man It is precisely this highly sexualized tension that makes Baldung Griens Fall of Man very similar to his Witches
51 Sabbath. Looking closely at contemporary German woodcut pri nt treatments of the Fall of man will more clearly illustrate Baldung Griens important deviation from tradition. The Adam and Eve Tradition in the Early Modern Germ an Print There was an established pictorial tradition for th e depiction of Adam and Eve, but artists now had various options, the printing p ress making their stylistic choices quite meaningful and socially relevant. Baldungs Fall of Man is relevant in this context because rather than following his masters classici zed and emotionally distant interpretation of the story, he made independent st ylistic choices that essentially imposed lessons of sexual morality on imagery that was not presented as sexually charged in the woodcuts of other early modern German artists. Figure 6. Hans Burgkmair, Adam and Eve Woodcut, 94.5 x 69.8 cm, The Illustrated Bartsch, Vol. 11. (photo: ARTstor)
52 Figure 7. Lucas van Leyden, Fall of Man c. 1508, Engraving, 11.7 x 8.8 cm, The Illustrate d Bartsch Vol. 12. (photo: ARTstor) Hans Burgkmairs Adam and Eve (1525) (Fig. 6) depicts the same crucial moment, but with emphasis on the discussion between them rather than their sexuality. Lucas van Leydens Fall of Man (ca. 1508) (Fig. 7) also places emphasis on the ra tional nature of the situation, depicting Adam and Eves i ntense debate. Albrecht Altdorfers Fall of Man (Fig. 8) (the date of which could not be ascertain ed) certainly takes a step toward emphasis on sexuality, but the fact that Ada m is turned away from the viewer, combined with the minimal physical connection betwe en him and Eve, still situates this image within the typical early modern German tradit ion. The intense sexuality in
53 Baldungs Fall of Man did not come from his master or from contemporary artists, so we know it must have come from the artist himself, ins pired by previous images of Adam and Eve and by popular demand. Figure 8. Albrecht Altdorfer, Fall of Man, 7.2 x 4.8 cm, Woodcut, The Illustrated Bartsch Vo l. 14. (photo: ARTstor) An important similarity between Drer and Baldungs Adam and Eve is that in both works, the figures are standing upright and fa cing the viewer. In comparison with the images discussed in the previous paragraph, thi s is unique. The popular trend was to either depict Adam and Eve sitting or, if standing, Adam is turned away from the viewer.
54 This suggests that Baldung is purposely copying and satirizing his masters Adam and Eve; he draws from Drers classical figures but se xualizes and modernizes them. Hans Baldung Grien Shifts Focus Baldung Grien inherited Drers technical skill, bu t his stylistic choices produced images that are more earthy and realistic because t hey are oriented around the physical body and its environment. The size and placement of the serpent, the postures, positions, and body types of Adam and Eve, as well as the numb er of animals in the space immediately surrounding the figures, are all elemen ts contributing to the physicality of the image. A comparison of the treatment of this mo ment by Baldung Grien and his master, Drer, will emphasize the stylistic and int erpretive differences that make Baldung Griens image so striking and unique. Hans Baldung Griens treatment of the subject matter in his Fall of Man (1511) (Fig. 1) places the blame for the Fall of Ma n on both Adam and Eve. Drers Adam and Eve (1504) (Fig. 9) is more heavily influenced by the Humanist reliance on models from antiquity and is r epresentative of focus on Adam and Eves pre-Fall purity that is seen in comparative p ieces. This is marked by calculated proportions, the muteness seen in antique portraitu re, and numerous animals serving as symbols of medicinal knowledge. Baldung Griens Fal l of Man by comparison, brings the story of Adam and Eve down to earth, focusing o n their robust bodies that touch each other, as well as the prominence of the rabbit who is representative of sexuality. In his influential study of symbol and meaning in n orthern European art of the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, James H. Mar row addressed Baldungs Fall of
55 Man Marrow deemed the image the first overtly erotic r epresentation of the Fall in western art. Marrow asserts that in contrast to Alb recht Drers images of Adam and Eve, which are self-contained narratives, Baldungs trea tment of the subject refocuses the action and meaning of the scene onto the viewer. He wrote that the effect was to make the viewer the object of Eves seductive sensuality, t o show her no longer as merely a historical figure who had seduced Adam at some remo te point in time, but as an active and omnipresent carnal force that elicits our respo nse now and forever.62 Emphasis on Eves breasts and the direct gazes of Adam and Eve confirm the intention of sexual meaning in the image. Joseph Koerner builds on Marrows assertions but ca rries them even further. Koerner argues that Baldung does not simply address the offer of the Fall to the viewer, but already shows the viewer as its victim by evoki ng his consciousness of the very knowledge of sin that had been precipitated by Adam and Eves disobedience. Baldung Grien forces the viewer to acknowledge Eves offer and to confront its relationship to himself, instilling in the viewer a personal consci ousness of the fallen state, which is the lot of post-lapsarian man. 63 By having the viewer share in the experience of th e Fall through Adam and Eves direct gaze, Baldung Grien s uccessfully locates both the significant action and the meaning within the spect ators consciousness. The state of consciousness that Baldung elicits in the beholders of these representations of the Fall is at once the result of the event he depicts and, for Baldung, its true meaning.64 The following close analysis will show how powerful Fal l of Man is because of its 62 James H. Marrow, Symbol and Meaning in Northern E uropean Art of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance , Simolus 16 (1986): 150-69, 166. 63 Marrow, 166-7. 64 Marrow, 167.
56 engagement with its audience through Adam and Eves direct gazes and the tangibility of their presence before the viewer. Close Comparison of Fall of Man and Adam and Eve Baldung Griens Fall of Man and Drers Adam and Eve are comparable in terms of subject matter, composition, and distribution as a print. They are also perhaps the two most copied prints of Adam and Eve since their crea tion, indicating their immense popularity. They are somewhat similar in size: the Drer is 249 x 193 cm (9 13/16 x 7 9/16 in.), while the Baldung Grien is 377 x 257 cm (14 7/8 x 10 1/8 in.). Both depict Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the climactic moments right before Adam eats the forbidden fruit handed to him by Eve. Eve and A dam have vibrantly curled hair, and their stances are complemented in both depictions b y the presence of two strategically placed tree trunks. Animals are present in each sce ne, as is Satan in the form of the serpent coiled around the primary tree trunk. Both images contain text on wooden tablets. Drers piece contains a tablet in the upper left attached to a branch held by Adam. On th e tablet reads ALBERT DVRER NORICVS FACIEBAT [ ]1504 or Albrecht D rer of Nuremberg made this
57 Figure 9. Albrecht Drer, Adam and Eve 1504, Engraving printed in black on laid paper, 2 5.1 x 19.3 cm, source: The Detroit Institute of Arts, Det roit, MI. (photo: ARTstor)
58 1504.65 This tablet clearly contains neutral language, wor ds not weighed down with any sort of moral implication. Its presence in the wood cut indicates the rising trend of the artists signature prominently placed on his work. Drers initials remind the viewer of the masters dominance of the subject matter. In contrast, there are two tablets in the Baldung p iece. One small tablet in the bottom left corner reads HGB 1511 while a larger tablet in the upper center reads LAPSVS HVMA NI GENERIS or Fall of the human race .66 By placing this tablet here, Baldung immediately instills the viewer with negativity and foreboding; the contemporary viewer would read these words first be fore studying the image beneath it. Combined with the overwhelming visual sexuality, th is text in its very prominent location leads the viewer to understand that carnal sexualit y is integral to the Fall.67 The viewer looks at this Adam and Eve more negatively than tho se of Drer, judging them for their sexuality and disobedience. Another major difference between the woodcuts is th e placement and role of Satan. Baldung Grien depicts Satan coiled around a tree that is off to the side of Adam and Eve, who are together. In this scenario, Satan does not need to come between the two in order to tempt them into disobedience and sin. A dam and Eve are spatially connected, indicating their joint agreement to participate in sinful behavior. Contrastingly, Drer places Satan on the tree directly in the middle of Adam and Eve, signifying his interference in their natural relationship. Satan m ust physically get in between Adam and 65 Caroline Campbell, ed., Temptation in Eden: Lucas Cranachs Adam and Eve (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2007): 136. 66 Campbell, 138. 67 Diane H. Russell, Eva/Ave: Woman in Renaissance and Baroque Prints (New York: The Feminist Press at the City University of New Yo rk, 1990): 124.
59 Eve, splitting them up, in order for his temptation to be successful. This placement suggests that Adam and Eve had a unity that was int errupted, or corrupted, by Satan in the moments before the Fall. The serpent in the Baldung Grien is quite large and imposing. Its head is almost as large as those of Adam and Eve, and its body is ext remely long. More importantly, the serpents head towers above those of Adam and Eve, indicating the dominance of the evil present within human nature that causes original si n. In the Drer, Satan is quite small in comparison with Adam and Eve. The serpent is also p laced below the heads of Adam and Eve, indicating that humans have the intellectual c apacity to overcome his wiles. Drers placement of the serpent indicates evil as an infer ior influence that Adam and Eve had the intellectual ability to accept or reject, which con trasts with Baldungs suggestion that evil is a dominating force that humans cannot help but s uccumb to. The difference in spatial depth is also important. Baldung creates a shallow space in which this momentous event is the only thing vis ible. There is no break for the viewer from the thick, dense forest, and all of ones atte ntion is focused on the immediate foreground. The physical environment aggressively c onfronts the viewer with the weightiness of the trees and the density of the for est. Adam and Eve are very much a part of this pastoral environment. Adams right arm is r aised to pick an apple from the tree and Baldung Grien has rendered it to closely resemb le a tree limb. Despite a growing trade industry, Strasbourg was still an agricultura l society. Contemporary viewers would have been able to relate to this type of rural scen e and would have appreciated its intimate earthiness.
60 In contrast, one can see in the upper right corner a cliff in the far distance on which a goat peers over the edge in the Drer. This opening from the dense, thick woods shows us light from above and also indicates that t here is a large expanse of space surrounding the event in the foreground. The glimps e into the outside environment and all of the animals in the scene takes weight off of the moment at hand. The Baldung woodcut is practically devoid of animal life, with only the serpent and two rabbits in the left middle ground. Their pr esence is extremely removed from the viewer due to their placement and postures; one of the rabbits is shown in profile, while the other has its back turned to us. Rabbits were w idely known to represent insatiable sexuality. There is no indication of abundant life or balance in Fall of Man Baldung Griens symbolism is obvious, in a way vernacular, while Drers is highly complex and intellectual. A variety of animals exist in Adam and Eve In the foreground is a cat, mouse, and rabbit with its back turned to us. In the middl e ground between Adam and Eve lies an elk, and further back is a resting bull. Adam holds a branch of mountain ash on which a parrot is perched. On the cliff in the upper right is a goat teetering over the edge. Erwin Panofsky famously analyzed the presence of these va rious creatures. He argued that Drers contemporaries would have paralleled the te nse relationship between Adam and Eve to that between a mouse and a cat. They would h ave understood that the wise and benevolent parrot contrasts with the diabolical ser pent. Most importantly, contemporaries would have connect ed the selection of animals in the foreground with the widely accepted doctrine of the four humors or temperaments. According to this doctrine, formulated in the twelf th century with origins dating back to
61 Galen (129-199/217 AD), the original nature of man was not yet qualified and corrupted by the predominance of any one of those mysterious fluids to which we still allude when we use such expressions as sanguine, phlegmatic choleric, and melancholic. The elk denotes melancholic gloom, the rabbit sanguine sensuality, the cat choleric cruelty, and the ox phlegmatic sluggishness.68 Mans constitution was perfectly balanced before the Fall, and the presence of these animals alludes to the harmony that would be corrupted. The animals indicate Drers emphasis on Adam and Eves purity before the Fall, which contrasts Baldung Griens emphasis on A dam and Eves post-Fall sinfulness. The animal presence proves that Drers Adam and Ev e relies on a specific set of previously learned knowledge for interpretation. Wh ile the theory of humorism was commonly known, it is nevertheless somewhat complex symbolism. Also, humorisms focus is on overall health and balance, which was t hrown off after the Fall. Baldung Grien does not rely on this type of knowledge on th e part of the viewer; his animal representation is simpler and directly sexual. Bald ung Grien chose not to distract away from the sexual importance of the Fall by including broader implications. Perhaps the most important difference between the t wo woodcuts are the facial expressions of Adam and Eve. In the Baldung Grien, Adam and Eve look out at the viewer, directly engaging him in this event. This d irect gaze is aggressive and connective; the viewer is invited into the scene and immediatel y begins to identify himself with the first man and wife. In the Drer, Adam and Eve are shown in profile. This is indicative of the classical influence that Drer drew from so hea vily. The profile, a favorite portraiture 68 Erwin Panofsky, The Life and Art of Albrecht Drer (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955): 85.
62 format of the ancient Romans, indicates a sense of austerity and nobility. The direction of the gaze also isolates the viewer from this scene; the audience is not addressed directly. Drers Adam and Eve are deeply influenced by class ical sources, which isolate them from the contemporary viewer, unless he was fa miliar with classical themes or shared those interests. Adam is derived from the id ealized masculine bodies of antique statues such as the Apollo Belvedere (Fig. 10) and the Borghese Hercules (Fig. 11), while Eves body is inspired by Drers earlier studies o f Vitruvian Man (Fig. 12) combined with the type of the Medici Venus (Fig. 13).69 Figure 10. Leochares, Apollo Belvedere, c. 130-140 CD Roman copy of a Greek original of c. 330 BCE, 2.24 m, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican City. (p hoto: ARTstor) Baldung Griens Adam and Eve are not influenced by classical masterpieces but by his own representation of the Unequal Lovers (1507) (Fig. 14), which depicts a very old man fondling the breast of a young girl in the same manner that Adam fondles Eve. Baldung Griens Adam is stocky while his Eve is ver y voluptuous; these are body types 69 Campbell, 136.
63 that are less mathematically perfect than Drers, based more on the variety of real life. With this connection to contemporary lewd lovers an d Adam and Eves direct gaze, Fall of Man is rendered more relevant to contemporaries. By de picting the average body types of his contemporaries, Baldung is creating a relata ble couple, which contrasts with the perfectly proportioned figures of Drer. Figure 11. Flavian, Youthful Hercucle , 68-98 A.D., Marble, 97 3/16 in. (246.9 cm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (photo: ARTstor)
64 Figure 12. Leonardo Da Vinci, Study of a Man According to Vitruvius ca. 1485-1490, Pen and Ink, 34.3 x 24.5 cm. Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venic e, Italy. (photo: ARTstor) Adam and Eves physical location is also important. Baldung Griens Adam and Eve are pressed up against one another, separate fr om the serpent. Not only do they stand close together, but also each of them touches the o ther. Most strikingly, Adams left hand fondles Eves left breast. Eves left arm rests aga inst Adams hand in a gesture of acceptance. There is a clear suggestion of sexualit y due to the close physical contact. Drers Adam and Eve stand on either side of the ce ntral tree with the serpent between them. Their hands, extending beyond the contours of their bodies, do not meet. No parts
65 of their bodies come into physical contact. Despite their nudity, there is no hint of sexuality between these two characters at this mome nt. Also, the fact that Eves breasts are not emphasized secures this moment as one that is not meant to be viewed as overtly sexual. Figure 13. Unknown, Venus de Medici 4th c B.C., Marble, Greek, Uffizi, Florence. (photo: ARTstor) Adam and Eves physical closeness, the more voluptuo us Eve, and the sole presence of rabbits all contribute to the overwhelm ing carnality of Baldung Griens image. These elements, combined with the language o n the tablet above their heads, sends the message that the Fall of Man can be attri buted to Adam and Eves sexual activity. In fact, theologians and artists such as Hans Baldung Grien and Sebald Beham speculated that Adam and Eve engaged in sexual inte rcourse as their first sin after biting
66 into the forbidden fruit.70 This message is opposed to the traditional belief that Eve was more responsible for the Fall than Adam, since it w as she who ate the forbidden fruit first. Drers image suggests indecision, alluding to their pre-Fall goodness, on the parts of both Adam and Eve, while Baldungs image suggest s their deliberate and joint disobedience. Figure 14. Hans Baldung Grien, Unequal Lovers, 15 07, (James Marrow, Hans Baldung Grien: Prints and Drawings ) 70 Chipps Smith, 338.
67 Biblical Origins of Gender Fear And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Wher e art thou? And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afra id, because I was naked, and I hid myself. And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree wh ereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And Adam said: The woma n, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this ? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat. ( Genesis 3: 9-13)71 These verses, from the Book of Genesis, are importa nt for understanding the development of prejudices toward women. In her Wome n in the Middle Ages, Angela Lucas shows that, historically, interpretations of Genesis by scriptural commentators and Church fathers tended toward an unfavorable view of woman. These early pieces of exegesis formulated the views of the churchmen of t he Middle Ages. The works of Augustine and Ambrose were key, as was the discussi on about whether Eve was created in the image and likeness of Adam or of God. In the first book of Genesis: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God h e created him; male and female he created them (Gn. 1:27).72 In the second book of Genesis: This at last is bo ne of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Wo man, because she was taken out of man (Gn. 2: 21-3).73 The ambiguity of Eves origin and her interaction with the serpent would be the basis of the argument for her inferior ity. The difference between male and female manifested a s the opposition of flesh and spirit, sensuality and reason, is first seen in the writings of both Ambrose and Augustine. According to these influential churchmen, woman is fully human, spiritually mans equal, 71 Douay-Rheims Translation. From www.drbo.org 72 Angela Lucas, Women in the Middle Ages (New York: St. Martins Press,1983): 3. 73 Lucas, 3.
68 yet this spirituality is associated with earthiness and sensuality.74 If man and woman are to each other as intelligence is to sensibility, th en the subjection of woman to man is to be regarded as proper and natural, for reason governs the senses and the soul governs the body.75 It is this reasoning that forms the basis of Eves association with the body, and therefore with sexual temptation. The origin of the myth of the males inability to r esist female sexual temptation can be drawn back to St. Augustine, for none influ enced medieval theology and religion more than St. Augustine The fundamentals of Weste rn religious thinking about sin and grace, providence and predestination, the church, a nd political power and the state received classic expression in Augustines Confessions and City of God . 76 Augustines Confessions detailed human sinfulness in various stages of man s life, including the demands of infants, the idle pranks and cruel delin quencies of youth, the day-to-day conflicts of marriage and most specifically that ma n is a fallen, sinful creature. Augustine also believed that selfishness and egoism had not a lways characterized man and need not continue to dominate him. 77 In Paradise, man was a model of self-control; Augu stine suggests sexual intercourse occurred without lust, and man had reasoned control of his faculties. According to Augustine, Adams unique c haracteristic was an ability not to sin (posse non peccare).78 Pre-lapsarian man was a free agent, willfully choo sing whether or not to sin. 74 Lucas, 5. 75 Lucas, 5. 76 Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform: 1250-1550 (New Haven: Yale University Press,1980): 22. 77 Ozment, 23. 78 Ozment, 23.
69 But everything changed after the Fall. Man was now a slave to lust not able not to sin (non posse non peccare).79 Augustine strongly correlated sin with sexuality and lust. Steven Ozment argues that this predilect ion for describing the power of sin by reference to sexual desire may have been intended t o illustrate the bondage of mans will to his passions in the most forceful way.80 Augustine was wary of finding pleasure in anything other than God, and sexual passion in huma ns tended to override all moral and religious considerations. These dire views of mans current state with regards to sexuality had a deep impact on the writings of the later theo logians. Thomas Aquinas writes, we commit a sinful act by turning to a temporal attrac tion without being duly directed to our last end [i.e. God].81 For both Augustine and the theologians of the Midd le Ages exactly why man fell from his original state of righteousness r emained something of a mystery. These men spoke of the loss of a special grace (do num superadditum) which made it possible for him to gain special insight into himse lf, his maker, and the world.82 The loss of this grace left man unable to conform his mind a nd will to God even when he wanted to do so. Angela Lucas attests that this interpretation of th e Fall and the weight of the blame placed on Eve accounts for much of the subjug ation of women in succeeding centuries. Sts. Ambrose, Paul, and Jerome all held the opinion that Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a t ransgressor.83 In his celibate state Jerome was severe on womankind, claiming that she was the origin of all evils, and 79 Ozment, 26. 80 Ozment. 81 Ozment. 82 Ozment, 27. 83 Lucas, 9.
70 it was through her that death entered the world. W oman captures the precious souls and hearts of men, leading them where she will. Woman t ends towards pleasure and not virtue, and so is ever a prime instrument in bringi ng about mans downfall.84 Adam of Courlandon, a canon of Laon in 1217, wrote that Eve had to be tempted first because she was rationally weaker than Adam. Sense is weaker th an reason, and sin begins with the senses. Had Adam been approached first he would ha ve repelled the attack through the power of his reason.85 Few scholars would attempt to acknowledge Adams vi tal role in the Fall. Hugh of St. Victor (c. 1078-1141) pointed out that Eves relatively weak reason allowed the devil to tempt her, but Adam consented to eating th e fruit without even reprimanding her and so is equally to blame. Ernaud of Bonneval also severely reprimands Adam; he compares Adam to Job in an unfavorable light. Job a nd Adam were both subjected to a nagging female tongue, yet Job had the strength to resist disobedience to God. In Genesis, Adam exudes weakness when he places the bl ame solely on Eve after they are discovered by God: The woman whom thou gavest to b e with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.86 The voices of these scholars were muffled by the h ighly powerful Church Fathers who took a negative view of female s exuality. Conclusions Baldung Griens Fall of Man is a revolutionary reworking of a popular and traditional theme. This revolutionary outlook is si multaneous with the shifting notions of 84 Lucas, 9. 85 Lucas, 9. 86 Lucas, 12.
71 sexuality, marriage, and what it meant to be Christ ian at this time in the Rhineland. Because of the consumer accessibility afforded by t he modern printing press, a widespread audience would have viewed these woodcut images. The mass consumption of this type of Adam and Eve, whose sexuality is le wd and dangerous, helped reinforce oppression of females in a time when many scholars believed womens rights were greatly increasing. While both Adam and Eve and Fall of Man represent the same moment in Genesis, they convey different meanings. Thomas DaC osta Kaufmann has asserted that Baldung carried out a negative transformation of D rer.87 Joseph Koerner in his famous work Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Ar t goes so far as to suggest Baldungs disfigurement of Drers canoni cal images, which do not represent such sexualized versions of Adam and Eve. This sort of perversion of the Drer image is most evident in the treatment of Adam and Eve; they fondle one another, cover their own genitalia, and gaze directly at the viewer. It is m y suggestion that Baldung does not necessarily disfigure Drers image but satirizes Drers figures by placing them in a lewd sexual context. The differences between the images are not only not iceable but are deliberately emphasized. Baldung Grien disfigures Drers stoi c and classicized Adam and Eve, rendering them carnal and lustful. The specific sty listic qualities discussed enabled Baldung Grien to physically connect Adam and Eve wi th contemporary men and women in order to convey a warning against sexual glutton y. This emphasis on sexuality, which 87 Russell, 124.
72 is not present in the Drer, signifies Baldung Grie ns general trend toward sexualizing popular themes. Drers classicized Adam and Eve celebrates humanit y in its original perfected state, while Baldung Griens contemporary figures s tress its post-Fall sinfulness. The idea of chastity and purity is being commented on, even satirized, in Fall of Man. Joseph Koerner poignantly summarizes the students depende nce on his masters work: Central to Baldungs reading of Drer is the way th e relationship between form and content has been reinterpreted. Drer soug ht to create a classicizing synthesis between form and content by mirroring the perfection of Adams Creator in the beauty of his l iving creation. The life that seems to animate each of Adams limbs, the way they move dynamically in contrapuntal motion, is testimony to the life-giving spirit of God. Baldung too seeks an equivalency between fo rm and content, image and meaning, yet the result is a travesty of his model. 88 I believe that because of the similarity in form, s tyle, and thematic tone, Baldung Griens Fall of Man is quite comparable to his lascivious rendition of witches in his Witches Sabbath because of the message being conveyed to the image s viewer. One gets the sense of ownership over the subjects, an idea that must have been pleasing to a misogynist intelligent group of men. 88 Joseph Leo Koerner, The Mortification of the Imag e: Death as a Hermeneutic in Hans Baldung Grien, Representations 10 (1985): 76.
73 IV Conclusion Figure 1. Hans Baldung Grien, Witch and Demon, 1515, Chiaroscuro pen drawing on brown-tinted pape r, 29.5 x 20.7 cm, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Kun sthalle, Karlsruhe. (photo: Linda C. Hults, The Witch as Muse figure 3.10) Scholars have previously made brief and generic sta tements regarding a connection between Eve and the witch in the visual arts. For example, R.W. Scribner in his Religion and Culture in Germany writes: The connection between woman as Eve and a sinful, indeed diabolical, femininity paved the way for an equation between w itchcraft and the sensual female body at the end of the fifteenth c entury witches were represented without a trace of sensuality or sexual ity as early as 1497, however, Drer was portraying witches as naked, sen sual female bodies. In 1514 Hans Baldung Grien depicted them as lascivi ous creatures and a year later as partners in sexual relations with dem ons. The complex
74 semiology of such pictures took up themes from the Malleus Maleficarum and other witch tracts and applied them to the erot icized female body in order to depict woman as a sign of diabolical sensu ality. 89 Witches and Eve provide artists with the opportunit y to treat the nude female form in interesting and various ways. Hans Baldung Griens body of work is unique because highly sexualized depictions of women comprise the majority of his repertoire. Many of his drawings and paintings contain imagery similar to what I have discussed in this thesis, some even more explicit. One of the most famous exa mples is Witch and the Demon (1515) (Fig.1). In this instance, Baldung Grien has created an image that is completely pornographic. It serves as proof of the recurring s exualization of his female subjects. Figure 2. Hans Baldung Grien, Group of Six Horses, 1534, Woodcut, 22.7 x 33.6 cm, source: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. (photo: ARTstor) Baldung Griens famous horse series also indicates his fascination with sexuality. Group of Six Horses (1534)(Fig. 2) depicts a group of wild horses in a frenzy amidst a 89 R. W. Scribner,From the Sacred Image to the Sensu al Gaze, Religion and Culture in Germany 1400-1800 (Boston: Brill, 2001): 140.
75 dense wood. The horse in the foreground is explicit ly shown ejaculating. The act is the images focus. What I find most interesting is that this carnality is not limited to secular figures and animals, but is also applied to Eve, th e ancestor of all females. Figure 3 Hans Baldung Grien, Bewitched Groom, 1544, Woodcut, 33.9 x 19.9 cm, source: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA. (photo: ARTstor) Contemporary theologians and artists, including Han s Baldung Grien, speculated that Adam and Eve engaged in sexual intercourse as their first sin after biting into the forbidden fruit.90 This belief that sexual intercourse was the first act after the ultimate disobedience is visible in Baldung Griens Fall of Man. The figures touch each other in a way indicating lascivious behavior, while at the sa me time gazing directly at the viewer. The image is arresting, inviting and erotic. This i ntense connection between subject and viewer is only one characteristic that sets Baldung Grien apart from his contemporaries. 90 Jeffrey Chipps Smith, The Northern Renaissance (London: Phaidon, 2004): 338.
76 This same tie between danger and sexuality is the b asis of the appeal of Witches Sabbath Witches were said to render men impotent, evoke b ad weather, and cause general harm to humans and animals. The fear of imp otence and agricultural destruction surrounding the myth of the witch is evident in the image. The image, depicting a group of uncontrolled and nude women, serves as an arousi ng depiction of the energy and sexuality of females. Left uncontrolled, women like Eve and witches could cause the utter destruction of mankind. Baldung Griens famou s Bewitched Groom (1545)(Fig.3) illustrates the result of complete control by a wom an. In the upper right corner an old hag, what many scholars presume to be a witch, places a curse on a man tending to his horse. He is bewitched, perhaps even dead. The unruly woman was one that posed a threat to ear ly modern German society. She was aggressive and independent, and also sexual ly lascivious. This woman was dangerous yet appealing. I believe Hans Baldung Gri en enjoyed using his artistic genius to play into this archetypal temptress. He boldly t ook this stereotype beyond the realm of witches and common peasant women and applied it to the mother of all men and women, Eve. I believe Fall of Man and Witches Sabbath in particular catered to an audience of intellectual wealthy men for private enjoyment, mak ing the images quasi-pornographic. Further Areas to be Explored It is my conclusion that, essentially, witches and Eve stem from the same archetype. This archetype is the temptress. Church Fathers and other historically oppressive patriarchal figures have used these arch etypes, along with others, to support
77 their misogynistic agendas. My research has only to uched the surface of the relationship between Eve and witches as depicted in art. A fruit ful continuation of my work would be to trace the development of Eve and witches through the next hundred years of early modern German history. I am sure there would be an interesting correlation with images of this kind and the full force of the Protestant R eformation. In the conclusion of her Women in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700 Cissie Fairchilds claims that the traditional patriarchal paradigm, which saw women as sinful Eve, inevitably subordinate to man, had been destro yed by the end of the early modern period.91 She attributes this breaking down as the work of m any forces, including the Reformation, the scientific revolution, and the gro wth of capitalism. I believe this argument simply is not true, that there still exist s a patriarchal paradigm to this day. Considering the artistic production of any society since the early modern period would be profitable to scholars who are interested in the ge nder issues because, as my work shows, the distinct relationship between form and function that exists in certain works of art can provide evidence about a society that a text simply cannot. I believe it would be extremely fruitful to apply t he methods of my study to images of Eve and witches during the Womens Rights Movement, roughly the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries The purpose of my study was to explore how, in times of great change, the role of women in society was reflected in the images produced by its members. It would be especia lly interesting to this time period because there was extreme change revolving specific ally around the role of women in society. 91 Fairchilds, 326.
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