The Painted World is the 3rd episode of the second season and the 25th overall episode of Charmed.


For a complete plot of The Painted World, go here.
To read the full script of The Painted World, go here.

Two of the sisters are trapped in a painting by a warlock who plans to torch it and destroy them, unless Phoebe can reverse their impending doom.


Main Cast

Guest Stars


Magical Notes

Book of Shadows


In the 1920's, a powerful witch named Nell tricked a warlock into a painting with a hidden spell that only his power of "x-ray" vision could see.
~ Phoebe Halliwell, reading Nell's latin entry.


Smart Spell

Requirements: Write the spell on a piece of paper, fold it three times and hold it to the temple of your head.

Sprits, send the words
from all across the land
Allow me to absorb them
through the touch of either hand
For 24 hours from 7 to 7
I will understand all meaning
of the words from here to heaven.
Oh, and PS, there will be no personal gain

To Free What is Lost

The To Free What is Lost Curse was created by a powerful witch named Nell in the 1920s, to curse a warlock into a painting for eternity. However, the Charmed Ones intervened and Malcolm, the powerful warlock, was able to escape in 1999. Prue, Piper, and Phoebe also cast this spell in addition to Malcolm and were all at one point trapped in the painting. In the end, Malcolm and his lover Jane were trapped in the painting and burned alive.

Absolvo amitto amplus brevis. Semper mea.

Words Free Us All

Phoebe ran across this spell when trying to free Piper and Prue from Nell's cursed painting. It is assumed that because this spell was part of Nell's page, that she created it back in the 1920s. It is believed that this spell was used to free anyone trapped inside the painting, however when Phoebe and Malcolm cast this spell in 1999, the sisters and Malcolm and Jane (respectively) were not freed.

Verva Omnes Liberant


  • Fire Breathing: Used by the Gargoyles to attack Malcolm, Prue and Piper.
  • Literary Manipulation: Used by Phoebe to absorb all information from her dictionary and to scan rapidly through the Book to find an Entry on Nell.
  • Telekinesis: Used by Prue to deviate a Gargoyle's fire stream, to retract sword traps for a short moment and to re-position a frozen firestream in front of the window.
  • Molecular Immobilization: Used by Piper to freeze Joe, fire streams, Malcolm and Jane.
  • Voice Manipulation: Used by Malcolm to make his voice sound deeper.
  • Blinking: Type of Teleportation used by Malcolm.
  • Pyrokinesis: Used by Jane to set the painting on fire.

Notes and Trivia

File:Charmed 2x03

The Herstmonceux Castle

  • This episode scored 6.4 million viewers.
  • Darryl doesn't appear in this episode.
  • This episode was originally suppose to air as the second episode of the season, as it was the second episode of season 2 in production order.
  • Phoebe writes her first spell, the Smart Spell.
  • Prue's title clip for the Season 3 credits is taken from this episode.
  • This episode establishes the name of Piper's club as P3 (a symbolic nod to the 3 P's beginning each sister's name as well as to the Power of Three).
  • Phoebe doesn't use her power in this episode.
  • The castle Nell drew is the Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, United Kingdom.
  • It may be possible that Nell is from England.
  • This is the first instance where a warlock was seen blinking with a whoosh rather than the sharp sound Matthew Tate used in season 1. The whooshing sound would be used for blinking for the rest of the season, then switched back to the sharp sound for the rest of the series.
  • Phoebe follows up on her realization from this episode that "there's a lot of cool information out there" by returning to college in "Awakened".
  • Prue accuses Piper of obsessing, and Piper says that it runs in the family, starting a tradition in the series where Piper is frequently accused of obsessing.
  • This is the second time that Phoebe needed to get a job for Prue's sake. The first time was to get Prue a birthday present, and this time it was to get Prue's car fixed. 
  • This is the first episode to refer to Prue's telekinesis by name, though Prue is referred to as "telekinetic" in "The Truth is Out There... and It Hurts".
  • This is the first time Phoebe actively defends herself from danger. This becomes a recurring theme over the course of the series.
  • Phoebe mentions that Piper has a four year degree.
  • The Latin pages on Nell in the Book of Shadows are translations of songs. However, the Latin spells used in this episode are real translations.

Cultural References

  • The Roald Dahl novel The Witches has a girl trapped inside a painting for approximately 70 years until her death.
  • The smart-spell is reminiscent of the novel Flowers for Algernon, where a mentally disabled man gets a temporary mind-boost.
  • When under the smart-spell, Phoebe wears an outfit reminiscent of Willow Rosenberg in the early seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • The program that Phoebe is watching while correctly answering the questions is the game show Win Ben Stein's Money.
  • Piper (referring to Phoebe): No, I'm serious, she's a regular genius, an Einstein with cleavage, she cast a spell on herself, Prue, a smart spell. This is a reference to Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955), a famous theoretical physicist who invented the Hydrogen Bomb.
  • Prue tells Malcolm that she isn't going to turn him into a toad. This is a classic stereotype featured in various media about witches. Ironically, Piper will do this to a magic school student in "The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell".


  • In "They're Everywhere", Phoebe says that warlocks do not bleed. However, in this episode, Malcolm does indeed bleed.
ThePaintedWorld WindowGlitch
  • When Piper writes Nell's name on the window, the close-ups of the blades (which are telekinetically forced from slicing into Piper by Prue) don't show Piper writing on the windows or Nell's name.
  • In the spell to free the occupants of the painting, the latin translation for 'word' (Verba) is misspelled as 'Verva'. One can assume the mistake was made by the writers, as both Malcolm and Phoebe say 'Verva' when casting the spell.


Episode Stills


Piper: What?
Prue: We were talking?
Piper: I know. About a man in a painting.. listen to this one. "Hallway near club entrance too narrow"?
Prue: I thought that we had discussed your code violations.
Piper: Well, I keep finding more. The plumbing, the electrical, the heating, it... none of it is up code.
Prue: Stop. You're obsessing.
Piper: Well, it runs in the family.
Prue: I don't obsess. I think... intensely... anyway, I can't really help it. I mean, we've seen so many bizarre things, why not a man in a painting.

Dan: Ok, then, um, I'll tell you what I can do. I'll check out the code violations. See how serious they really are. If you'll help me with the promise I made Jenny.
Piper: Deal. Wait... Uh, what's the promise?
Dan: She needs help with a paper. It's for her Bio class, you know, something about within the human reproductive system...
Piper: Oh, ha... you mean, sex...
Dan: It's just way too awkward for me to talk to my niece about.
Piper: Yeah, ha... sure, not to worry. I have plenty of experience.
Dan: Really... with with sex?
Piper: No... I mean, uh... talking about it. (Dan laughs. Smiling nervous.) Yeah!!!

(Phoebe's going upstairs.)
Piper: Wait. What does this mean? "Absolvo Amitto Amplus Brevis Semper Mea". (She starts to get sucked into the painting.) Phoebe. Help!
Phoebe: Piper, no!
Piper: Phoebeeeee.
Phoebe: Piper!
(Inside the castle.)
Piper: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! (A fireball flies past her.)
Prue: Piper?
Piper: What the hell is happening? Where are we?
Prue: All right, hurry. Just get to the bookcase fast.
Piper: Whahhhhhhh!!!
Prue: Watch out.
Piper: Uhh!! (Piper freezes a fireball) Whoa!!! Whoa!!! Wow!!! (They run into the bookcase)
Malcolm: Don't tell me she's the sister witch who was gonna save us.

(Prue showing Piper genius Phoebe's drawing of the reproductive system)
Prue: Okay, you wanna explain this?
Phoebe: Okay, well that's Piper (points to the egg).
Prue: Oh, I see . . .
Phoebe: And that's Dan (points to sperm).

International Titles

  • French: Le château hanté (The Haunted Castle)
  • Polish: Świat w ramce (World in the Frame)
  • Czech: Zakletý obraz (Cursed Painting)
  • Slovak: Maľovaný svet (The Painted World)
  • Italian: Il quadro incantato (The Enchanted Painting)
  • Serbian: Naslikani svet (The Painted World)
  • Spanish (Spain): Un mundo pintado (A Painted World)
  • Spanish (Latin America): Atrapados en un cuadro | El mundo pintado (Trapped in the Painting) (The Painted World)
  • Hungarian: A festmény fogságában (In the Captivity of the Painting)
  • Portuguese (Portugal): Um Mundo Pintado (A Painted World)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): O Mundo Pintado (The Painted World)
  • Russian: Нарисованный мир [Narisovannyj mir] (The Painted World)
  • Finnish: Kankaalle ikuistettu (Immortalized on Canvas)
  • German: Voll im Bild (Fully in the Picture)
Previous Episode:
Morality Bites
Next Episode:
The Devil's Music
Episodes: Season 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8
Comics: 9 - 10
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