The Humming and the Soft Colours – Witches in the Air by Goya


Witches in the Air by Francisco de Goya
Witches in the Air by Francisco de Goya

Three half-men, half-women witches wearing pointy hats and floaty skirts hold a man in their arms. They levitate above the ground, preparing for their way to somewhere unknown. The muscular shape of their bodies and their manly faces is the first indication of their gender. The position of the creature in green allows us to notice her right breast in the corner of her arm. Pastel rose, green, and yellow enhance their costumes, and from these gentle colours fool their victims into letting these, at first innocent creatures, approach them with curiosity and affection.

The rest of the scene foreshadows a troubled future for the characters involved. On the left, a man has dismounted his donkey and thrown himself to the floor, his hands on his ears, covering the witches’ sweetly hummed incantations. , The enchanting sounds  lead the souls of the men to each of the creatures’ mercy. Below the pyramid shape formed by the four bodies in the air, a man wanders in panic. He has covered himself with a white sheet to avoid any contact with the witches. Will he advance without meeting another group of witches? Blinded by his own protection, he is afraid and lost.

In the darkness of the night, the creatures’ aura together forms a candid light which illuminates any living souls. The man in their hands is in agony, gesturing and wanting to be brought back to the ground, where peace and tranquillity exist. He never thought we would encounter these witches. For him, it was a myth, but then he heard the humming, and could not move his body. The magical light surrounding the small bodies of the witches, and the sweet colours enveloping their heads and legs were delightful to watch. As they approached, the humming turned into a dissonant sound, which wasn’t as pleasant as the former melody he once was attracted to. Terror took over as the witches came closer to him. His screams covered the humming. Struggling to remain in his clothes, an energy a hundred times greater than his, lifted him above the earth.

There’s no indication of where the witches are taking him.  Perhaps a place where the landscape looks reassuring in appearance, with candy floss mountains, and apple-red lands. In the confusion of the sounds, the man in agony will scream and fight for his life. Too comfortable in the humming and the soft colours, he wishes he had never fallen into these deceptive artifices.

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