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Die Blutprobe (The Test of Blood), from Die Siebenhardenbeliebung series

European Art
The Test of Blood

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Die Blutprobe (The Test of Blood), from Die Siebenhardenbeliebung series

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Hans Grohs
German, 1892–1981

Date

1922

Medium

Woodcut print

Accession #

2005.332.2

Dimensions

11 3/4 x 16 5/16 inches

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

The Test of Blood

Based on the common belief that the body of a victim would spontaneously bleed in the presence of its murderer, the test of blood was used in German law until the middle of the eighteenth century as a method to prove guilt.

Grohs illustrates this principle of law as a narrative moment. On a rocky beach with the sea and ships in the distance, four figures enact the crucial test. The corpse’s ungainly position is a measure of the violence perpetrated, while the accused murderer’s rigid bodily resistance already confirms his guilt.

Credit

Gift of Nelson Brackin

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