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Monday, January 12, 2009

The Top 10 Scariest Paintings of All Time

I'm doing something a bit different tonight. Since The Vault of Horror is devoted truly to all things horror, and not just movies and TV, I thought I'd take a look at the world of fine art, and how horror has been best represented there. With that in mind, I give you the most frightening works of art ever created! Continue on, if you dare, and enjoy the dark products of man's twisted imagination!

10. Guernica. Pablo Picasso, 1937

9. The Great Red Dragon. William Blake, 1811

8. Biomechanoid. H.R. Giger, 1974

7. Death and Life. Gustav Klimt, 1911

6. The Nightmare. John Henry Fuseli, 1791

5. The Scream. Edvard Munch, 1893

4. Garden of Earthly Delights (The Hell panel). Hieronymus Bosch, 1500

3. Death and the Maiden. Egon Schiele, 1915

2. Saturn Devouring His Sons. Francisco de Goya, 1824

1. The Triumph of Death. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1562


Garg Unzola said...

But why don't you have any recent paintings on your list?

Just kidding..

gord said...

I remember reading this when you originally wrote it some time back. Twas great then, tis great now.

'Saturn' has always been one of my personal faves.

Tenebrous Kate said...

I remember coming across "Saturn..." in one of the Time-Life books from the "Enchanted World" series published in the early 80s. That painting was some serious nightmare fodder for me!

Thanks for bringing back my goosebumps with this wonderful post.

B-Sol said...

Garg: Nice.

Gord: Thanks. Yes, this originally ran as part of my old Examiner.com art column last Halloween, but I figured it was good Vault material, too.

Kate: My pleasure. And I subscribed to that Enchanted World series as a kid--I still have the whole set!

KT Grant said...

The Garden of Earthly Delights is my all time favorite painting.
Great list!

Alana Noel Voth said...

B-Sol. Thanks so much for these.


pot head pixie said...

It's interesting that three of the ten paintings you chose are hanging in Madrid, where I live. The Goya and Bosch are in the Prado, whilst the Picaso is in the Reina Sofia modern art museum.

All are spectacular. The size of Guernica is incredible - it's a daunting sight taking up a whole wall of one of the rooms in the museum.

The Garden of Delights is also amazing, and one of a few pieces by Bosch in the Prado. I also like the seven deadly sins table he did.

Incidentally, and related to your horror-heavy metal thing, part of the top section (the city in flames) of the Garden of Earthly Delights panel was used as the album cover for Celtic Frost's "Into the Pandemonium" LP in the 80s. Of course, being Swiss they are also friends with Giger and he's actually done loads of work for bands, including Celtic Frost themselves, Danzig, Dead Kennedys, ELP....

Back to your list, the Blake painting is beautiful too. He's almost as good a painter as he is a poet, if you ask me. Absolutely love his stuff.

Garg asks why there's nothing recent. Wouldn't you consider Picaso recent?

Francis Bacon anyone?

B-Sol said...

Don't worry, Garg was only kidding--a reference to the Top 50 Horror Movies list, in which I was criticized for not having anything recent.
I'm jealous of your location--there's one Bosch here in CT, at the Yale Museum, and I've been meaning to go see it for a while.

The Blunt Machete said...

Pot Head Pixie...

Couldn't agree more about Francis Bacon. His portrait of Pope Innocent REALLY CREEPS ME OUT!!!

pot head pixie said...

B-Sol. The 3 main museums here in Madrid - Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen - are all amazing. Definitely worth a visit if you're ever in the area!

In my previous post I forgot to mention how much I love The Scream. Ever since I was at school and had to write some kind of narrative piece based on the picture I've been fascinated by it. So much so that I have a t-shirt, tie and mousepad of the pic!

Pope Innocent by Bacon is very very good and could maybe be a contender for the top 10, but I think B-Sol's list is great anyway.

B-Sol said...

I confess, I had a poster of The Scream in my room during my angsty teenage years.

@wendydesigns said...

these don't scare me (the Geiger isn't the worst of his, either, IMO)... The scariest painting I've ever seen is by Alex Gray: the center panel of "Journey of the Wounded Healer"

B-Sol said...

Wow, good one! It's scary, and like many of those on my list, at the same time oddly beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Great collection. I'd like to add Otto Dix ( http://www.artinthepicture.com/paintings/Otto_Dix/Masks-as-Ruins/ ) to your list.

Anonymous said...

hey great concept for a list and very good pics, two more works i think would of been good inclusions are michel jean basquiat's riding with death


and this older and i find more horrific version of the triumph of death by an unknown painter of the 15th centurary


B-Sol said...

Hey thanks, The Triumph of Death is definitely a worthy addition.

Anonymous said...

Great list. Giger´s homage to böcklin came to mind...

Shakir Hasnain

B-Sol said...

A great choice. I tried to limit it to only one Giger on the list--although that was tough, as you might imagine.

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