Autodidact: self-taught


Triumph of the Guillotine in Hell

by V. L. Craven
'The Triumph of the Guillotine in Hell' Nicolas-Antoine Taunay

‘The Triumph of the Guillotine in Hell’ Nicolas-Antoine Taunay

For fans of Bosch and Dante, I present Nicolas-Antoine Taunay’s ‘The Triumph of the Guillotine in Hell’. It’s a large image so go ahead and click on it and take in the full view of the… yeah. It’s… special.

I enjoy the two-headed snake and the winged guy in the middle and the skeletonised bird thing in the right upper quadrant. And there’s some really interesting things happening over on the left upper quadrant, as well. The demon that’s catching a lift on the back of the …other demon’s…demon… isn’t very horizontal so they must not be going very fast so I wonder how they’re staying in the air. Physics must work differently there.

Just below them there are a couple wings guys, one of which has a big horn and he looks so bummed out. Perhaps he’s going to play a concert for the big guy himself and he’s always so  judgmental  and it’s such a drag . Or maybe the horn is really heavy. Or maybe he just has bad posture.

In in the middle upper part, I’m curious about the dude allowed to bring his paints and easel with him, as you’d think a note pad and pen would be much quicker when tasked to capture the everlasting torments of eternity. (Either that or someone allowed him to grab his tools when he was being dragged to Hell, which was nice of the dragger.) And this was painted in the 1800s but I swear that’s a member of Devo with the painter guy.

But my absolute favourite people are the ones by the skeletonised bird thing because they’re just humans, but they are not being tormented in any way. They’re just hanging around. Just being casual. The guy and his woman with their backs to us look like they’re laughing. ‘Oh ho, another jolly day in Hell! What fun it is to be young and French and dead and… haha!’ They’re clothes aren’t even mussed. Do they have tailors down there?

And then there’s Hell’s version of Statler and Waldorf up there in the very far upper right. You just know they’re cracking the filthiest jokes in all of Christendom.

I don’t think Taunay was a fan of the ol’ close shave, overall, though.

My Google-fu is lacking at the best of times and it’s really failing me now, (which is why I’m being a smart-arse rather than telling you anything useful) as I can’t find anything to help me out with this painting. I’d love to know more about it so if you know something or know somewhere I can look, please leave a comment. And thank you.

[And because we live now, you can get this piece of social commentary as a heart-shaped Christmas ornament from Zazzle because of course or an iPhone case . I mean, why not, right? It would be like putting a heart-shaped ornament on your tree commemorating lethal injection or something… What would that look like? The bed they strap the condemned to, perhaps attached to your tree by the three IV lines they insert in their veins? Merry freakin Christmas. I’m macabre but there’s a line, people.]

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