Hans Baldung Grien, Witches' Coven (1510)
The belief in witches and the resulting persecution of witches were both widespread in the sixteenth century, especially after a treatise on the identification and persecution of witches entitled Hammer of the Witches [Malleus Maleficarum] was published in 1486. Strasbourg artist Hans Baldung Grien (1484/85-1545), a former apprentice of Albrecht Dürer, developed a keen interest in this subject around 1510. This image of a so-called Hexensabbat (witches’ coven) attests to contemporary beliefs about the occult rituals supposedly performed by witches. Woodcut by Hans Baldung Grien, 1510.