Witches Sabbath 1640-1649

If he was still living, Salvator Rosa would be with no doubt among the greatest artists. An Italian by origin, although he spent most of his time in Rome; his great work is still admired by many although some of it is scary. He influenced so many people with his painting among them Ann Radcliffe. To those people who lived in the 17th century, Salvator Rosa was not only gothic but also devilish. His artistic work had very strange characteristics and this was a true painting of the world he lived in. He is a man who liked being realistic and instead of coming up with something that would please people, he opted to paint horrors which in actual sense spoke a thousand words for him. Goya, just like Salvator, seemed to share the same story of witches in his paintings which make many people to stop doubting the latter. This article attempts to describe one of Rosa’s painting which he brought in the limelight when witchcraft was at its peak. The painting which was done around 1646 is a classic example of the witches while carrying out their activities. A first look at it, one might not be able to comprehend what is happening unless close attention is paid.

When one looks at the painting, it clearly tells you that Rosa had witnessed the act and not just work of creation. The bright ray of the sun enables one to identify some reddish and bluish clothing besides some yellowish ones. The place is a beehive of activities. One glance at it in the museum paints a very disturbing image in your mind. A dead man hanging from a tree is being split by some naked elderly women under a dark environment with the sky having thick clouds. One can tell that this is happening late in the evening or in the wee morning hours. The body is somehow whitish an indication that this person had been killed some days back. Due to the pain experienced as a result of being hanged, the gullet is swollen and is tightly held with a rope. If you think you have seen anything, not just yet, the devils are using the corpse’s meat, one is cutting the feet and another comes with fire and places it beneath him. Being naked, one of the witches is making herself comfortable on the bare ground making some concoctions that only God knows what. Her colleagues play the devil’s advocate by jumping around with some strange looking doll. At the background, an invisible skeleton of dinosaur can be identified just next to the witch who holding the doll. This is surely a miserable painting by Rosa.

From religious paintings demanding for justice to be done on Christians to demonic paintings, Rosa left nothing to chance to speak his mind. In most cases it is said that although he came up with some paintings which he thought were religious, the idea is just too far from being Christianity. Most of his work is fascinating yet frightening to many who are his idle. To conclude, I must admit that these kinds of paintings by Rosa Salvator always saw him getting in trouble with those in the authority. In one of his pictures which he painted he looks so worked up. He surely could not hesitate to bring the reality on the surface. He admitted that, when one knows the truth, it is advisable to remain silent to avoid trouble. This he gives as an advise following what happened to him.

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