The Night-Hag Visiting Lapland Witches

Henry Fuseli Swiss

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 641

Hecate, the Greek goddess who presided over witchcraft and magical rites, was historically known as the “Night-Hag,” hence the title that the artist gave this work. It illustrates a passage from Paradise Lost by the English poet John Milton, in which hellhounds are compared to those who “follow the night-hag when, called, / In secret, riding through the air she comes, Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance / With Lapland witches, while the laboring moon Eclipses at their charms.” Fuseli and Goya did not know each other, but they both captured the psychological impact of the turmoil and war experienced by many during the age of revolution and Napoleonic expansion.

The Night-Hag Visiting Lapland Witches, Henry Fuseli (Swiss, Zürich 1741–1825 London), Oil on canvas

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