Henry Fuseli

Study for the three witches in Macbeth

Study for the three witches in Macbeth by Henry Fuseli

Artwork Detail

In 'Aphorisms on Art' Fuseli responded to traditional art theory which insisted that to be effective a work which found its source in literature must refer to a specific moment… 'The middle moment, the moment of suspense, the crisis…big with the past and pregnant with the future...' This turning point in a narrative had to be easily identified by the viewing public. Auckland's oil sketch epitomises this moment for Macbeth; the death's head moth in the background reinforces the witches' message and prefigures the tragedy that is to unfold. (Monsters and Maidens, 2004)

Study for the three witches in Macbeth
Henry Fuseli
Production date
circa 1783
oil on canvas
420 x 537 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased with funds from the M A Serra Trust, 1980
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
On display

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