Witch-hunt in the School of Management: National Gallery podcast
It’s not an obvious part of the job, but Dr Angus Cameron from our School of Management was invited by the National Gallery to join their monthly podcast and discuss a 17th century painting which depicts a group of witches.
Salvatore Rosa (1615-1673) was an Italian baroque painter (and poet, composer, actor – quite the Renaissance man). Among his works is Witches at their Incantations, a dark, gothic painting believed to date from around 1646, when the artist was living in Florence. The picture is so gruesome that its original owner kept it hidden behind a curtain and showed it to guests with a gleeful flourish.
Angus was asked to discuss the painting, not just because he has a degree in the History of Art, but also because his research in the School of Management looks at “spatiality, representation and performance” and how these ideas can be applied to money, offshore finance, boundaries, taxation and other business-related fields. He is particularly interested in the idea of 'xenospaces' – fictional but functional “spaces of exteriority” – which correlate with the view of witches 400 years ago. These were old women (mostly) who occupied the fringes of society and were believed to occupy the fringes of reality.
The podcast webpage includes a full transcript and you can also read Angus’ thoughts about the painting on his blog Xenotopia. You can examine the painting in all its unpleasant detail on the National Gallery website.