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Macbeth meeting the witches (1760)

This 18th-century oil painting by Francesco Zuccarelli depicts a scene from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Francesco Zuccarelli. Macbeth Meeting the Witches. Oil on canvas, 1760. Folger Shakespeare Library.

Can you identify Macbeth, Banquo, and the Witches?

Instead of Shakespeare’s “blasted heath” in Scotland, the characters in Francesco Zuccarelli’s Macbeth Meeting the Witches (1760) appear in the kind of fantasy landscape typically associated with 18th-century Italy. However, their attire reflects traditional Scottish dress, with kilts and tartan stockings.

According to William L. Pressly’s A Catalogue of Paintings in the Folger Shakespeare Library, it is one of the earliest paintings from this play. “It is a remarkable example of epic or historical landscape, a genre originating with the Franco-Italian artists Poussin and Claude Lorraine,” Pressly writes. “The painting is a reflection of aristocratic Italianate tastes.”

See catalog record