hanks, Lorredan, for the source of your information and also for cuing me in to read the blurb that the Canberra people put out, which I didn't notice. If it's on wood, it's probably not a fresco. And easily transportable to Carlo Marenzi's house, which I assume is the Casa Marenzi in Trieste--again, not a likely place for a painter to go. Unfortunately the blurb gives no reason for why the attribution to them.
Well, I will go back to the Cremona witches.
After reading the article by Bailey referenced on Wikipedia, I can say that Wikipedia drastically oversimplifies the 30 page article--as does the author himself sometimes. But he does get it right, if read carefully. On p. 968-69, he quotes from the Inquisition manual written by Bernard Gui in 1324, after 20 years of service as Inquisitor in Toulouse, on what questions to ask suspected sorcerers. Bailey says that they are clearly directed at "common sorcerers", as opposed to an intellectual elite. This is based on convictions at Carcassonne, he says, correctly I think. He cites Lea, History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages
. I remember reading about women accused of being witches at Carcassonne; one even managed to escape by flying out the window of her cell (no doubt they were given windowless cells after that). I see that Lea does Gui's chapter on sorcery was only one small part of a large book; Gui did not press the point, and it was generally not used except where heretics were active. In 1330 John XXII removed sorcery from the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, reinstated by John XXIII. (This is from Lea, History of the Inquisition.) Then it became the basis of a whole book in 1376, and another in 1437. As heresy became more widespread, the definition of witchcraft expanded accordingly, until it was used indiscriminately against uneducated mainly female healers and dispensers of love charms. Also, in general, they were to be burned at the stake even if repentant, Lea reports.
The development of the ideas and prosecution of witchcraft is preeminently a Dominican domain: all its theorists and the Inquisitors who directed themselves toward "common sorcery" were Dominicans. In the earlier Middle Ages, Diana was said to be the presiding genius of the "night-riders"; but Hugh of S. Victor, a leading Augustinian theorist, said that "the companion of Diana is Minerva" (Lea, History of the Inquisition, ii. 494). I'm not sure what that means, but Minerva is goddess of Wisdom I see that John of Salisbury "alludes to the belief [in the night-riders] as an illustration of the illusions of dreams." The church in Cremona that Francesco and Bianca were associated with was Augustinian. The imagery of the "Song of the Seven Virtues and Seven Sciences" done for the Visconti c. 1350 and kept in Milan, probably by the Archbishopric, which we see in the CY, is also Augustinian, as Dorez argued, shown by Augustine's place at the head of the Church figures. But I have not thoroughly investigated this idea.
Lea traces the origin of the Brethren of the Free Spirit to one Amauri de Bene, at the University of Paris, who was compelled to abjure in 1207 and died soon after. The Lateran Council of 1215 condemned Amauri, but called his views "crazy rater than heretical" (Lea, ii, 323). By then a follower, Ortlieb of Strassburg, had made it a movement which was "strictly continent; the only generation of children permitted was spiritual, through conversion"; he called this movement the "Brethren of the Free Spirit". However it seems that when tried, they were accused of saying that to them all was permitted. Whatever the case, Lea does not mention the sect as being in Italy. I'm not sure why you brought them in, Phaeded. It's not related to Joachim that I can see.
Nider based his work on a secular judge named Peter of Berne, who "had burned large numbers of witches of both sexes, and driven many more from the Bernese territory, which they had infested for about sixty years."
Cremona, to be sure, was a hotbed of witches, although the Inquisition seems not to have been able to get many until the 16th century.
When at Cremona, in the early years of the sixteenth century, the inquisitor, Giorgio di Casale, endeavored to exterminate the numberless witches flourishing there, and was interfered with by certain clerks and laymen, who asserted that he was exceeding his jurisdiction, Julius II, following the example of Innocent VIII in the case of Sprenger, promptly came to the rescue by defining his powers and offering to all who would aid him in the good work indulgences such as were given to crusaders--provisions which, in 1523 were extended to the Inquisitor of Como by Adrian VI. The result of all this careful stimulation is seen in the description of the Lombard witches by Gianfrancesco Pico, and in the alarming report by Silvester Prierias that they were extending down the Apennines and boasting that they would outnumber the faithful.
Sprenger is the author of the Malleus Maleficarum
, the Hammer of Witches.
I see on vol. iii p. 518 that the Inquisitor of Lombardy did manage to get five in 1474, named by witches in Piedmont before they were burned. One had the bad luck to be named Guglielmina (the same spelling Lea uses for her more famous sister), but the good fortune to have a rich enough peasant family to hire a lawyer, who was able to outsmart the inexperienced inquisitor. He had to transfer the case to Turin, where the outcome is unknown.
Lea, a Protestant, was writing in 1887. I don't know how well his research stands up, but in looking at what he says about witchcraft, it seems to me that Bailey is just repeating , with different details, what Lea said long ago.