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

European Art

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

Artwork Details


Hans Grohs
German, 1892–1981




Woodcut print

Accession #



11 3/4 x 16 5/16 inches


Currently Not on View


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.


Gift of Nelson Brackin