‘Dulle Griet’ in seventeenth-century Flemish painting: a risible image of popular peasant culture

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 11
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    English: This article investigates the representation of “dulle Griet” by the seventeenth-century artists David II Teniers and David III Ryckaert in the context of Catholic Flanders. In a society preoccupied with hierarchical order both the state and church aimed to root out archaic beliefs and customs, and to save society from witchcraft. The representations of mad Meg are interpreted as comic archaisms satirising the magical culture of the peasants to confirm the superiority of the urban elite. While these imaginative inventions heightened their artistic prestige and social standing, it is argued that the painters also contributed to the efforts to demystify the ideology of witch hunting.