Guazzo’s treatise has received remarkably little scholarly attention, and its twenty-two woodcuts even less, but they offer the opportunity to investigate the relationship between fact and fiction, fantasy and belief. The book claims to arm readers with proof and truth as remedies against evil. This paper examines the emotive appeal of the exempla-like illustrations on the one hand, and the counter-claim to factual accuracy on the other. Ultimately, the paradoxical relationship between fantasy and reality is not only central to all witchcraft imagery but also to the creative enterprise and impact of figurative art.

About Patricia Simons

Patricia Simons’ scholarly interests include the art of Renaissance Europe (primarily Italy, France and the Netherlands) with a special focus on the representation of gender and sexuality and interdisciplinary research on materiality, visuality and material culture. Her work, published in anthologies and peer-review journals like Art HistoryRenaissance Quarterly, and Renaissance Studies, has investigated such issues as portraiture as a mode of fictive representation, medical discourse in relation to visual culture, the representation and reception of homoeroticism, and metaphors both visual and textual (literary or “popular”).  It is distinguished for its combination of rigor and innovation, as well as for analyzing the breadth of visual and material culture, from badges to maiolica, anatomical illustration to erotic prints, life size sculpture to canonical oil paintings and frescoes.

About the Newberry Seminar in European Art

Focused on the history of European art, from its origins through the nineteenth century, this seminar provides a forum for presenting current research, as well as a venue to bring together a diverse community of art historians for intellectual exchange, collegial conversation, and debate. We construe art history in broad terms, embracing painting, sculpture, graphic art, architecture, caricature, manuscript illumination, book arts, and material culture. Each year we invite papers that cross and challenge borders both within and outside the discipline; engage questions of methodology and ideology; examine dynamics between form and content; probe the categories of race, ethnicity, status, and gender; and reflect critically on the state and outlook of the field. Papers are precirculated, enabling the seminar to be devoted to discussion.