Witch - Whore - Saint

in Alien Art Hive2 years ago (edited)

Don't like this woman? Accusing her of being a witch could solve the "problem". At least it most likely did some 600 years ago. It did happen to a young woman in Germany back in the 15th century and this is her true story!

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Although the exact origin of Agnes Bernauer is not documented, it is assumed that she was the daughter of an Augsburg bathhouse owner. Back in the 15th century, those bath houses were considered somewhat indecent...

In 1432 Agnes entered into a secret marriage with Duke Albrecht III of Bavaria and lived with him in Vohburg and Straubing. The marriage was entirely intolearable at the time. With a cleverly contrived intrigue, Duke Albrecht was lured away from Straubing. Agnes was accused of being a witch and put on trial in his absence. Even under duress, she refused to renounce her marriage to her beloved Albrecht and was condemned to death and drowned in the river Danube, ordered by Duke Ernst, Albrecht's father.


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This drawing above shows a version of Agnes Bernauer's story which I drew on glass as a very young artist many years ago. Agnes had just been thrown into the river from a bridge. It is said, that she could swim, so Duke Ernst ordered a raftsman to tangle a long pole in her hair and push her under water. Agnes is holding the wedding bands in her hand to show, that she would rather die than give up her beloved husband.

As atonement for the murder of his daughter-in-law, Duke Ernst had her own chapel built, a tombstone made in red marble and a mass endowed... Thanks a lot Ernest!!

This whole artwork is roughly 9 x 12 ft and shows the whole story in many details:

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Agnes Bernauer has been with me almost all of my career as an artist and I have created several artworks about her.

In the early 90s I was one of 5 artists invited to create an artwork about her in a public building close to the location where she was killed. I made a very provocative design. Unfortunately I have no photo of it. I was awarded best artist, but my design was ruled out for being to dramatic for a public space...

For the 650 year celebrations of the dukedom Straubing-Holland I was invited to do an exhibition with the Agnes Bernauer theme. While I was thinking about my approach, I kept seeing her standing in this gothic portal in front of my inner eye. For a meeting I went to Straubing, which is only some 25 miles away. On the central square there is a big gothic tower and although I had passed it many times, I became aware of the entrance door only then. Sure enough, its almost the same that I had envisioned and so it was clear, that it would become part of my design.

In this portrayal of Agnes Bernauer, I explore the recurring question of whether she was a witch, a whore or a saint and show the figure in these three facets. Agnes and Albrecht are connected by the ring in the center of the picture, but at the same time they cannot hold each other.

As some of you might know, I had worked on a large scale artwork on tarot cards in my Temple of the Secrets. Strangely enough, the place where I lived and worked was built during Agnes Bernauer's life time some 600 years ago.

Tarot cards are numbered and ever since then, I connect numbers with the meaning of the corresponding card. I put some of that symbolism into the painting:

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On that gothic portal, there are these little knob like elements, six on each side. In tarot, VI stands for "The Lovers" and XII can be seen as "Sacrifice". There are four towers with IV representing "Order" (The Emperor) and Agnes' appearance creates a gap there.. disorder so to speak.

If you look closely, you can see the snakes in the hair of the witch figure as well as the claws on her fingers and toes. The wing is also more like one of a dragon or bat. Of course I had to put some high heels on the figure in the middle and the figure to the right has real angel wings.

Maybe not noticed right away, a central element in this picture are the hands of duke Albrecht and Agnes. They are both connected by their wedding band, but Albrecht cannot hold her, as she is slipping away...

My latest artwork about Agnes Bernauer is a digital version which I call a micro movie. In just 25 seconds it tells the story supported by a sound track, which starts upbeat and happy but turns increasingly more dramatic towards the end.

I have always been fascinated by iris apertures and found that a good fit to open and end the story. I created the blades in a rich red and gold pattern to fit time and theme:

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In photoshop I split the drawing I had into different layers and added a thick red line around the group:

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The little symbols in the background and my signature were created in illustrator and then brought into photoshp on their own layer.

Piece by piece I built the whole picture.

A real challenge was the hair. I wanted just a little bit of movement and so I tried a plotagraph first.. with not very satisfying results. It became clear, that I would only like it with individual strands of hair animated. So they all had to be isolated and again be put on individual layers. I usually add a green background for such tasks to make the masking a bit better to see:

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Now the hair was ready to be animated in after effects. I knew I wanted to use the puppet tool, as it gives exact control over the movement. Anthony Possobon provides a brilliant script for hair movement at

You still have to set 4-7 pins at each strand of hair, and adjust the rotation point, but once applied you have great control over the way the hair moves. After some hours of fiddling around I finally got it right.

I like to have some mechanics in my work.. I see it as the male counterpart to create a yin yang like balance with the female elements. Here I have this slow turning machinery in the background, the system behind it... it spins off centre to symbolize the injustice involved:

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The wedding band was created in 3D in Blender with a turning animation, exported as a png sequence and then brought into after effects already animated. It stops turning later in the "story", as Agnes's life ends.

The water like movement in the background was also created in Blender. Took my PC some 12 hours to render. I chose a blending mode in after effects so it wouldn't necessarily be recognized as water, although that was the element chosen to kill Agnes. In a way it could also be interpreted as fire, which was commonly used to execute a witch and destroy her soul.

During almost the whole time a banner runs across the picture:

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This too was added in after effects and I changed the blending mode towards the end to make it pop out.

The text is rather cynical and says:

Badhur genannt
vom Herzog geliebt
in schändlichem Bund
als Hexe ertränkt
zum Engel verklärt
in Ordnung die Welt

called whore
beloved by the duke
in disgraceful bond
drowned as a witch
glorified as an angel
in order the world

I tokenized this micro movie at Makersplace at https://makersplace.com/reinhardschmid/witch-whore-saint-1-of-1-40819/ where you can see it animated with sound.


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I enjoy reading your comments!


If you like my work, of course I appreciate your upvotes and reblogs


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Check out my glass painting technique at What is Hinterglas?

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See more of my work on BeScouted


My tokenized collectible art at

MakersPlace and Superrare



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So much going on here. Reminds me of the Indian brides who throw themselves on their husband's funeral pyre. Not much of that in the West. You're lucky if she takes your surname :)

Thank you for your comment, Matt 😀

Agnes loved her husband but I'm sure she didn't end her life voluntarily. Not so sure the Indian brides do either...

Thank you :-)

Powerful story, hopefully, we're really building a more sensitive society that respects women and encourages Love.

That would be wonderful and we have come a long way in many parts of the world. In others you still have Female genital mutilation and and the abortion of female foetuses to give birth only to sons... 🤢

I know, we still have long ways to go 😔

Great Job!
Ausgezeichnet!
Have an Awesome Sunday Eve!
👍🏼😊🐝🌴🐝😊👍🏼

Thank you! Have a beautiful holiday season!

Wow ... a moving story, movingly presented. Well done. RIP, Frau Bernauer.

Fascinating to know you are on Cent too ... I tend to present my art in a slightly different way there ... there is also growing interest in NFT Showroom over there are well!

Thank you for your kind words and your good wishes for Agnes' soul.

Good thing you made me aware of the line about the cross post... which I did not this time. I guess, I don't get it there and I kept paying my eth into it. Decided to put it on hold for now.

How can one find you there?

I'm /deeanndova there ... it took me a LONG time to understand Cent because I got there just as they were going through major changes, so I had to understand it TWICE, and nobody really has time for all that. Still, I did figure it all out -- it is not as straightforward as Hive. Essentially, what you do is put art our and fund it upfront to get attention from seeders who if they like what they see from you consistently fund you consistently. Meanwhile, other people come and comment, and you reward your favorite comment ... lovely way to get fine testimonials, although they are probably not entirely unbiased (because the same economics that go into folks writing articles and selling the proceeds for their living operate on Cent, and in addition to the big reward, you can also spot -- tip -- other responses that you like).

Speaking of rewards -- there are other people offering rewards to attract views to their art, and a good, thoughtful comment allows you to be in the running for those. However, the competition is fierce -- that's a process in and of itself!

I adapt the old process on Steem for the days in which I started out with just 15 resource credits ... post up some art with an amount of ETH worth $4-5, and then write 5-7 thoughtful responses to other people's post. My goal: breakeven first, then take small profits. It can work as a model ... but of course, it's just not as good as Hive.

Wow! You definitlely win here :-)

Thanks a lot for your explanations. It roughly the idea I have of cent, but every time I want to do something, it says "no sufficient funds" and I throw 20 bucks into it which miraculously disappear before I know it. I have enough of it for now...

Plus, who stands a chance against your comments... ;-)

I'm not there every day, only about 4-5 times a month, and there are commenters there that give me heavy competition ... but YES, unless you get seeded by someone or win some rewards, you CAN run out of money really soon. $20 worth will get you 3-4 posts and enough to spot some other people's work freely, but that's IT, and if ETH fluctuates down (been riding between $500 and $600 back and forth for a month), you can run out of money QUICK. I get beat on comments pretty regularly, but when I get $3-5 of wins together, I'll take out $1 or so in ETH, and do a post to attract more eyeballs and spotters with the rest ... so, $20 gets stretched, and a little profit comes out. But, in the same month, although it takes a lot more work, I make a lot more here.

The most valuable thing about Cent, though, is future value of what it provides you for that initial investment ... imagine dressing up your gallery with all those detailed reviews that people write about your art. We understand the economics of Cent, and why those reviews happen, but, open up a file to your computer for each piece of art, keep track of the reviews you like, and make use of them, thoughtfully ... and about the rest ...

Image by Nika Akin from Pixabay

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