Scotland’s National Gallery of Modern Art will have a major art show in 2013 about witches. The exhibition in Edinburgh’s modern art museum is called Witches and Wicked Bodies. The exhibition will make people discover 500 years of art history including works by Albrecht Dürer, Francisco de Goya and William Blake, plus pieces by 20th century artists such as Paula Rego and Kiki Smith.
The reason the exhibition will be held in the modern art museum is that witches are a modern subject because they provoke anxiety. Also in the time of Freud it was an inspiration source for Freudian terrors. Before that this European myth was used as a figure of darkness for the greatest artists. An example of this is Allegory of Hercules, better known as Witchcraft, of the 16th-century painter Dosso Dossi. The painting shows a sinister group of people at a nocturnal banquet.
An artist, the surrealist Max Ernst, also take witches as subject of their art. In his 1940 painting The Robing of the Birde he imagines a fantastical transformation of woman into bird, under the tutelage of his personal demon Loplop. Francisco de Goya also has images of witchcraft. His paintings and prints make the potency of night terrors real and frightening.
So witches have always cast a spell over art and in 2013 it is time for Scotland’s National Gallery of Modern Art to enchant people with their Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibition.
The exhibition is coming in summer 2013: 27th July – 3rd November