TENIERS, David the Younger
(b. 1610, Antwerpen, d. 1690, Bruxelles)

Witches' Initiation

Oil on wood, 48 x 70 cm
Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna

The Witches' Initiation was a popular subject in the circles of the Saftleven brothers in Rotterdam. In Teniers's version the witching is taking place in the distant background, where a young, naked witch with a broomstick between her legs is being anointed before she flies off through the gaping hearth. In the foreground two ladies are studying books in a civilised fashion. The assemblage of objects at right retains the character of a still-life.