Autodidact: self-taught

Nov
19
2013

Bastien Lecouffe Deharme

by V. L. Craven
Art

Bastien Lecouffe Deharme a.k.a. B. is a French artist currently living in the U.S. He works in a variety of media and combines them digitally to create ethereal yet dark images.

Deharme also does book covers and illustrations for authors like Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Philip K. Dick, and Terry Brooks.

Hellraiser cover by Deharme

Hellraiser cover by Deharme

The full piece looks like this:

This ain't your mother's Pinhead

This ain’t your mother’s Pinhead

Now for more of his work. Many of these come from his graphic novel Memories of Retrocity (Amazon only seems to have the French edition.)

Reverence

Reverence

 

Concept Art

Concept Art

 

The Clock

The Clock

 

The Absolute

The Absolute

 

The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse

 

The Deny

The Deny

 

Ghost Train

Ghost Train

 

Hecate

Hecate

These two are illustrations for Legend of the Cryptids, which, if this is what their cards look like, I must start playing posthaste.

Death (Legend of the Cryptids)

Death (Legend of the Cryptids)

 

Undead Queen (Legend of the Cryptids)

Undead Queen (Legend of the Cryptids)

You can check him out on Google+ where he’s posted much of his work. (When I checked out his page 6,660 people had him in circles. I almost hated to mess up his number. Alas, it had to be done.)

His website is also a good place to go, which has hi-res versions of his latest work.

Hat tip to Red Lipstick on Tumblr. I have a Tumblr account, too, now. Because I know you like stalking me.

Oct
01
2013

David Guardado – Sincanvas

by V. L. Craven

This week’s featured artist is David Guardado. There’s a lot going on so behold!

And check out more of his work on Facebook .

Ordo, Ba, Chao

Ordo, Ba, Chao

 

The Beautiful Ones

The Beautiful Ones

 

Alter Boy

Alter Boy

 

Do It All Night

Do It All Night

 

One of Us

One of Us

 

Familiars

Familiars

 

S.C.U.B.A.

S.C.U.B.A.

 

Ignorance is Bliss

Ignorance is Bliss

Sep
30
2013

An Interview with Artist Loren Kantor

by V. L. Craven

I’ve always liked the look of woodcuts–the concept of working with negative space is really interesting to me. So when I learned of Loren Kantor’s work, through his post about Edgar Allan Poe , I had to interview him.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

How did you become interested in doing woodcuts? And how long have you been doing them?

My interest in woodcuts began in the mid-1980’s. I attended a German Expressionist art show at LA County Museum and I encountered the woodcut prints and paintings of George Grosz, Kathe Kollwitz and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. I was mesmerized. I loved the stark lines and bold imagery. Characters expressed emotional angst and the images focused on the shadowy and unpleasant aspects of society. I was writing screenplays in those days and I never envisioned attempting woodcut carving myself. But the images remained in my subconscious and whenever I saw a woodcut print I felt a sense of excitement.

In 2008, my wife surprised me with a woodcutting set for my birthday. I checked out a few online tutorial videos and I dove in. The carving process was difficult at first. I cut myself often, the blocks were ragtag and I felt like a child with my first set of fingerpaints. After a few months, I was hooked. I spent hours immersed in carving. After a year I was confident enough to begin showing the prints. Friends started asking for prints for their walls. Then a stranger emailed me from Switzerland. He’d seen my blog and he wanted a custom portrait for himself. This was my first commission and I was off and running.

Poe woodcut by Lorne Kantor

Poe

Do you work in other types of media?

For years, I was an avid photographer. I shot 35mm, black and white photos and developed them in my own darkroom. Photography taught me the basics of composition and visual contrast which I now apply with my woodcutting.

You cover a wide range of subjects–how do you decide who to do a portrait of? Walk me through the steps of creating a finished piece once that decision has been made.

I love carving images of iconoclasts and independent thinkers. This applies to the celebrities I carve as well as the people in my own life. Their stories are important. But their essence is even more important. There is an ineffable quality involved in the people I choose to carve. This quality is hard to explain. Steve Buscemi has it. Charles Bukowski has it. Jim Jarmusch has it. Tom Cruise does not have it. Nor does George Lucas. I don’t have to admire all the people I carve (Richard Nixon, for example), but there needs to be something about the subject that compels me. If I don’t feel this compulsion, I don’t embark on a carving.

Karloff

Karloff

How long does one piece take?

When carving woodcuts, the process begins when I find an old photo or image that I like. From this image I make an initial pencil sketch which I then transfer to a wood or linoleum block. I use standard woodcutting blades and gouges and other odd tools (awls, dental implements, sewing needles. Once the image is carved I clean the block, apply a thin layer of ink and hand press the image on archival paper using a Japanese Baren (a bamboo tool that looks kind of like an air-hockey paddle). The entire process takes 40-50 hours depending on the size and complexity of the image. If I make a major mistake I have to start over. Minor mistakes I live with; they add to the organic nature of the print.

Whose work do you most enjoy–who most inspires you and why? (Woodcut artists and other artists in general.)

My favorite modern woodcut artist is Artemio Rodriguez who hails from Mexico. His work has a Catholic, day of the dead influence and his pieces reflect the challenge of living morally in a modern world. I also admire the Classic American Woodcut Artists Paul Landacre and Lynd Ward.

Lorre

Lorre

Do you listen to music when you work?

The woodcut process is slow and meditative. I’ll put on music when I carve to help immerse myself in the process. The choice of music seems is spontaneous. When carving Salvador Dali, I listened to the Portugese band Madredeus. When carving Charlie Chaplin, I listened to Sidney Bechet. While carving Thom Yorke I listened to Radiohead.

What subjects are next in the queue?

My next few woodcut subjects include Ernest Hemingway, Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo), Gloria Swanson and Simon Wiesenthal.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me!

Thanks for providing a great list of questions.

Sep
17
2013

Brooke Shaden

by V. L. Craven

Brooke Shaden is a photographer whose art looks more like dreamlike (and occasionally nightmarish) painting.

The Chainless Links

The Chainless Links

 

Looking for Air

Looking for Air

 

The Leaves of Lindin Avenue

The Leaves of Lindin Avenue

 

The Research Laboratory

The Research Laboratory

Some of her work is just plain spooky. For example, ‘The Guiding Spirit’ [below] looks like two girls facing the same direction, one bending forward and the other leaning backward over her. Then you see the girl closest to the camera–her feet are facing us.

The Guiding Spirit Brooke Shaden

The Guiding Spirit

While ‘Moving House’ puts one in mind of the first series of American Horror Story.

Moving House

Moving House

‘The Aftermath’ is reminiscent of Millais’ ‘Ophelia’

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

 

The Feeling of Traveling

The Feeling of Traveling

 

Wild Birds Burning

Wild Birds Burning

 

Battle at Cliffside Hill

Battle at Cliffside Hill

 

Out of the Earth

Out of the Earth

 

The Inconvenience of Spirits

The Inconvenience of Spirits

‘The Sharing Game’ looks like a lost M.R. James ghost story come to life.

The Sharing Game

The Sharing Game

 

To Lift Her Up

To Lift Her Up

 

The Untamed Passage

The Untamed Passage

 

Sleepwalker Brooke Shaden

Sleepwalker

‘The Protector of Magic’ both looks and sounds like a Neil Gaiman novel.

The Protector of Magic

The Protector of Magic

 

The Keeper of Keys

The Keeper of Keys

A lot of her work reminds me of the video for Tori Amos’ ‘Caught a Lite Sneeze’ in the best way. I cannot find the video online, but if you’ve seen it, you know it.

You can find much, much more of her work on her website.

Hat tip to my friend Gary Glass for pointing me to this one. Thanks, Gary!

Sep
10
2013

Abigail Larson

by V. L. Craven

Abigail Larson illustrated the lovely Sarah Faire and the House at the End of the World, my review of which is here . Later, when I interviewed the author, Alex Giannini, he talked about working with her. The short version is that Madam Larson is both talented and a pleasure to work with.

Her style is very Victorian Gothic and her subject matter is often macabre. Therefore, I adore her work. And you shall, too. On to the proof!

First, two of the great authors for people who read this site:

Poe Portrait

Poe Portrait

 

H. P. Lovecraft

H. P. Lovecraft

 

In the next two, I like how the monsters, though they are creepy, are still lovable.

Monster Tea Party

Monster Tea Party

 

Aidan 2

Aidan 2

 

Asenath

Asenath

 

The Bride Ghost

The Bride Ghost

 

Mourning

Mourning

 

When Death appears, He’s usually a skull with my lower mandible. It reminds me of the half masks people used to wear at balls. Which reminds me of ‘Masque of the Red Death’. Somebody commission this woman to do an entire book of Poe stories, please.

Death and the Maiden

Death and the Maiden

 

Nightmares of the Alchemist's Wife

Nightmares of the Alchemist’s Wife

 

Dracula Summoned

Dracula Summoned

 

Clocks

Clocks

 

Santisima Muerte Final Cover

Santisima Muerte Final Cover

See? You love her, don’t you? I knew you would. You can find more incredible work in her gallery here.

Sep
03
2013

Gromyko Padilla Semper

by V. L. Craven
Art

This week’s featured artist is Gromyko Padilla Semper .

It’s also one of those weeks where I don’t have a great deal to say other than, ‘Ooooh, look!’

So, oooh, look!

The Enigma

The Enigma

 

Sunset

Sunset

 

Homage to Leonora Carrington

Homage to Leonora Carrington

 

The Spectre of the Will-o-the-Wisp

The Spectre of the Will-o-the-Wisp

 

King Nimrod

King Nimrod

 

The Enigma of Decay

The Enigma of Decay

 

The Shedding of the Spectres of Qlipoth

The Shedding of the Spectres of Qlipoth

 

To Each His Own Crime

To Each His Own Crime

 

The Beast

The Beast

 

When I was Mortal...

When I was Mortal…

 

When I was Dead...

When I was Dead…

Aug
27
2013

Dave Caulder III

by V. L. Craven

When you see one of Dave Caulder’s photomanipulations for the first time the phrase that springs to mind is ‘nightmare fuel’. Then you find yourself staring at it for a long time.

Deception

Deception

 

A really long time.

Dismal

Dismal

 

Caulder’s work embodies the word ‘haunting’ in all its senses.

The Filthy Liar

The Filthy Liar

 

It should please fans of Silent Hill.

Down at the Clinic

Down at the Clinic

 

He uses light beautifully. In a way that will make you want to keep yours on…forever.

Divine Interference

Divine Interference

After you’ve got your blankie, checked under all the beds and in all the cupboards, and turned on all the lights in your house, check out more of his work on DeviantArt.

Aug
13
2013

Kate Baylay

by V. L. Craven

Kate Baylay is an illustrator of delicate, elegant pieces of art. She’s barely out of university and already has impressive work under her belt. There’s a deceptive simplicity in her work that is rather captivating.

Let’s start with a couple book covers.

Rebecca Baylay Cover

Baylay opted to have Mrs Danvers on the cover of Rebecca. I love this choice–and not just because she’s my favourite character in that book, really. The portrait of the first Mrs de Winter on the back cover makes it, though.

His Dark Materials Baylay Cover

She has illustrations of multiple fiction pieces, but my favourite, by far is ‘The Black Monk’ by Chekhov.

Illustration of The Black Monk by Chekhov

Illustration of The Black Monk by Chekhov

 

The next few are from a collection of Russian fairy tales

Aloisha Popovich

Aloisha Popovich

 

Foma and Erema, the Two Brothers

Foma and Erema, the Two Brothers

 

If You Don't Like it, Don't Listen

If You Don’t Like it, Don’t Listen

 

The Fox Physician

The Fox Physician

The largest collection she’s done thus far, though, is for the Olive Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. here is a selection of those illustrations.

Dorani

Dorani

 

Jackal or Tiger

Jackal or Tiger

 

The Comb and the Collar

The Comb and the Collar

 

The Five Wise Words of the Guru

The Five Wise Words of the Guru

 

The Silent Princess

The Silent Princess

 

The Story of Little King Loc

The Story of Little King Loc

 

The Story of Zoulvisia

The Story of Zoulvisia

Visit her website for very high res images of everything in this post and much more.

She also has a blogspot blog. And a tumblr.

You can also purchase some of her work on Society6.

Aug
06
2013

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli

by V. L. Craven
Art

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli (1634-1718) was an Italian artist who specialised in engraving. Whilst not necessarily always macabre, his works are, at times, creepy, and also elegant.

Secreto sicurissimo per non mai mortre

Secreto sicurissimo per non mai mortre

 

We Do it to Each Other Mitelli

We Do it to Each Other

 

Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

 

Vecchiezza

Vecchiezza

 

La Mascmera

La Mascmera

 

Son Testa Son Paese Case e Gente Mitelli

Son Testa Son Paese Case e Gente

 

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli

Machina del Mondo

 

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli 02

Se conoscer mi voi mi scoprorai

Se conoscer mi voi mi scoprorai

 

Il corrier, che mai si ferma

Il corrier, che mai si ferma

Jul
30
2013

Laurie Lipton

by V. L. Craven

Laurie Lipton is an American artist who is amazing. Just… look at this:

Splendor Solis 1989

Splendor Solis 1989

That’s coloured pencil on paper.

That’s almost too beautiful to be allowed. But I’m going to give her a break.

That’s one of her pieces for Splendor Solis , an alchemical manuscript from the Middle Ages. I love me some alchemy, and I love illuminated manuscripts. The original illuminations can be seen here . Lipton’s versions are on the first two pages of her Commissions here .

Laurie Lipton Splendor Solis 'The Sun'

Laurie Lipton Splendor Solis ‘The Sun’

 

Laurie Lipton Splendor Solis 'Black Sun'

Laurie Lipton Splendor Solis ‘Black Sun’

But I found those after doing research for this post. I was originally enthralled by her charcoal and pencil drawings, which are often macabre and intricate and always impressive.

Laurie Lipton 'Bone China'

Laurie Lipton ‘Bone China’

 

Laurie Lipton 'Fourth Horseman'

Laurie Lipton ‘Fourth Horseman’

 

Laurie Lipton 'Maskers'

Laurie Lipton ‘Maskers’

Maskers puts me in mind of ‘The Masque of the Red Death’. Always a good thing.

Laurie Lipton 'Queen of Bones'

Laurie Lipton ‘Queen of Bones’

 

Laurie Lipton 'Umpteenth Anniversary'

Laurie Lipton ‘Umpteenth Anniversary’

 

Laurie Lipton Nuit D'Amour

Laurie Lipton ‘Nuit D’Amour’

Which is a take on Gabrielle d’Estrees et une de ses soeurs.

Laurie Lipton 'Prime Time'

Laurie Lipton ‘Prime Time’

 

Laurie Lipton 'Reunion'

Laurie Lipton ‘Reunion’

Lipton’s official website

You can also follow her on Twitter  (she is hilarious and smart, follow her)

She’s also on Facebook . Like her.

Jul
23
2013

Maximilian Pirner

by V. L. Craven

Maximilian Pirner was a Czech painter who lived between 1854-1924. His favourite artistic subjects were of the macabre variety, mythological topics (particularly Medusa) and nude ladies.

Here is a sampling of his work.

Girl in Her Nightie Walk on the Window-Ledge

Girl in Her Nightie Walk on the Window-Ledge

 

Series Mythological Misalliances

Series Mythological Misalliances

 

Series Mythological Misalliances 1890

Series Mythological Misalliances 1890

 

Allegory of Death 1895

Allegory of Death 1895

 

Finis (The End of All Things) 1893

Finis (The End of All Things) 1893

 

The End of All Things detail 1893

The End of All Things detail 1893

 

Medusa 1891

Medusa 1891

 

Hekate 1893

Hekate 1893

 

Daemon Love 1893

Daemon Love 1893

Jun
18
2013

Sylwia Makris

by V. L. Craven

This week the focus is on Sylwia Makris , a German photographer of gorgeous, ethereal art.

From her portfolio:  Icons .

I thought I’d start with one for the Johnny Depp/Gary Oldman in Dracula fans. You’re welcome.

Timur Karakus by Sylwia Makris

Timur Karakus

This one reminds me of a Pre-Raphaelite painting. I half-expect Ophelia to float by.

Skadi van Terror by Sylwia Makris

Skadi van Terror

 

Not everyone can pull off either a neck tattoo or asymmetrical fringe, but you do both admirably, sir. And, per usual, I really want to know what that tattoo looks like.

Tobias Monsieur Guillotine by Sylwia Makris

Tobias Monsieur Guillotine

 

This portrait reminds me of Miss Havisham, one of my all-time favourite fictional characters.

Inga by Sylwia Makris

Inga

 

I love the baroque feel of this one. At first glance, it looks like a painting, rather than a photograph. Marat on his way to the bath.

Luca Thompson by Sylwia Makris

Luca Thompson

 

The ever-winning combination of a (tastefully) nearly-nude, beautiful woman with interesting make-up and awesome tattoos. The skeleton key on her wrist is a bonus.

Denise Miller by Sylwia Makris

Denise Miller

 

A big part of this is the make-up. You get the humanity–the freckles, but there’s also some sort of shading to bring out his marvelous bone structure. He looks like he’s been carved from marble.

Mirko by Sylwia Makris

Mirko

 

The way the fabric is moving makes it look like it was taken underwater, which clearly isn’t the case. Silk and a fan? Her hair isn’t moving? I’m going with just beautiful. Well done.

Sarah by Sylwia Makris

Sarah

Below is a (very small) sampling of some of Makris’ recent work. It’s untitled, hence no captions.

I would like to state for the record that I am in love with the model below, whoever she is. I just want to gaze upon her visage. She reminds me of a cross between Tilda Swinton and Alison Goldfrapp.

04 by Slywia Makris

06 by Slywia Makris

10 by Slywia Makris

14 by Slywia Makris

15 by Slywia Makris

18 Slywia Makris

I believe this set is called Diadema, but don’t hold me to that. Either way, prepare yourself for the beauty:

Diadema 07 by Sylwia Makris
Diadema 08 by Sylwia Makris
Diadema 09 by Sylwia Makris
Diadema 11 by Sylwia Makris
Diadema 12 by Sylwia Makris
Diadema 16 by Slywia Makris
Diadema 20 by Slywia Makris

If you’d like more of her work in your life (and why wouldn’t you?), like her Facebook page .

Jun
11
2013

Kris Kuksi: Sculptor of Beautiful Nightmares

by V. L. Craven

My husband shared this image with me on Google +:

Kris Kuksi The Guardian

The Guardian by Kris Kuksi

Which, of course, wasn’t bloody attributed. Happily, you can drag and drop images into the Google Images search bar and it will show you matches.

And that’s how I discovered Kris Kuksi , who does some of the most incredibly intricate artwork I’ve seen. In his sculptures, he uses mixed media and, from what I can tell, bits of Neil Gaiman’s nightmares.

His sculptures tend to fall into themes:

Classical

Kuksi Neo-Dionysian

Kris Kuksi Neo-Dionysian

 

Kuksi Hercules vs Diana

Kris Kuksi Hercules vs Diana

 

Kuksi The Emperor

Kris Kuksi The Emperor

 

Religious

[These are Christian in origin, but Kuksi explores other religions, as well]

Kris Kuksi Seven Deadly Sins

Kris Kuksi Seven Deadly Sins

 

Kuksi Sins Detail

Kuksi Sins Detail

The full size piece is available as a completely kick-ass  iPhone skin .

Kuksi Eden

Kris Kuksi Eden

 

Kuksi The Last Judgement

Kris Kuksi The Last Judgement

 

Military

Kuksi Admiral Otto von Howitzerhead

Kris Kuksi Admiral Otto von Howitzerhead

 

Kuksi Sub-Sonic Dissidence Propulsion Device

Kris Kuksi Sub-Sonic Dissidence Propulsion Device

But, of course, my favourites are the:

Macabre

Kuksi Tribute to the Madness of Beethoven

Kris Kuksi Tribute to the Madness of Beethoven

 

Kuksi Beethoven Detail

Kuksi Beethoven Detail

 

Kuksi The Decision

Kris Kuksi The Decision

 

Kuksi Surrealist Carnival

Kris Kuksi Surrealist Carnival

 

Kuksi Surrealist Carnival Detail

Kris Kuksi Surrealist Carnival Detail

My favourite of the macabre is Through Death United, because it reminds me of memento mori and charnel houses and such.

Kuksi Through Death United

Kris Kuksi Through Death United

 

Kuksi Through Death Detail 1

Kris Kuksi United Through Death Detail 1

I also like how they appear to be flirting, even in death. Whether they were together or apart in life, they’re practically blushing and giggling at one another on the other side of decay. Warms the heart, it does.

Kuksi Through Death Detail 2

Kris Kuksi United Through Death Detail 2

All of his works are quite large–several feet wide and high. You can click on any of the images above to see larger versions, which still don’t capture all of the detail. Luckily, his website has multiple details of the sculptures so you can see more of the all the little bits and bobs. And there are myriad bits and bobs.

If you want to give the gift of beautiful nightmares (and who wouldn’t?) then you could pick up his book Kris Kuksi: Divination and Delusion , available on Amazon for $33 USD. I would love anyone who gave me this.

His paintings are nearly photorealistic, which is always technically impressive, and his drawings are intricate and handle shadow well, but they’re not as mind-blowing as his sculptures.

 

May
28
2013

Antoine Wiertz: Madness and the Maiden

by V. L. Craven

Antoine Wiertz  was a Belgian romantic painter who had a taste for the macabre. Therefore, I enjoy his work and thought you would, as well.

Antoine Wiertz Self Portrait

Antoine Wiertz Self Portrait

La jeune Sorcière , (The Young Sorceress or The Young Witch), 1857. Now witches are typically thought of as being sexy (Hermione Granger) or benevolent, wise women (Professor McGonagall), if they’re crazy evil, they’re still crazy hot (Bellatrix Lestrange). But back in the day, witches were either ugly old hags or beautiful temptresses after your manhood. They also, curiously, tended to be either single women with property men wanted or were considered to be useless to society and, therefore, a drain on resources and expendable.

During this time, witches were believed to travel to meetings with the Devil on broomsticks naked. Sometimes rubbing the broomstick with special herbs and oils to make it magical before swinging a leg over and hitching it right up there. No sexual symbolism there, though.

I couldn’t find background on this painting but I like to think the trainee witch is trying out brooms and the hag is saying, ‘Hmm. No, I don’t think this one is going to work.’

'The Young Witch' Antoine Wiertz 1857

‘The Young Witch’ Antoine Wiertz 1857

L’Inhumation précipitée, or The Premature Burial, 1854. Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon for people to be buried prematurely (how difficult wass it to take a pulse or hold a mirror under a nose, ffs?). So, you may be in the unfortunate position of waking up and realising that you are in an unfortunate position, so to speak. The fellow below was a cholera victim and I don’t know why he looks so frightened. They didn’t nail down the lid and he can easily move the casket at the other end of his. Talk about being ungrateful for small gifts. You’re still alive, man.

'The Premature Burial' Antoine Wiertz 1854

‘The Premature Burial’ Antoine Wiertz 1854

Une tête coupée , or The Guillotined Head, 1855. Wiertz also had a thing about decapitation. He lived during the time when the guillotine was becoming a popular method of execution, as it was thought to be more humane than hanging, but some believed that the brain was aware of what was happening for several seconds (some believed entire minutes) after decapitation occurred. This post by Mike Dash gives loads of information about both the beliefs about post-beheading consciousness and Wiertz’s own fascination with decapitation. Wiertz thought he could go inside the consciousness of a person being decapitated and experience his last moments. Yeah.

A Guillotined Head Antoine Wiertz 1855

A Guillotined Head Antoine Wiertz 1855

A Severed Head (I couldn’t find the French title of this and it is undated) is a quick study.The duel blood spurts sell it, I think.

A Severed Head Antoine Wiertz Undated

A Severed Head Antoine Wiertz Undated

La Belle Rosine or The Beautiful Rosina, 1847. This is one of those obligatory ‘we’re all going to die, let’s juxtapose death and beauty, decay and voluptuousness’ paintings artists did for awhile. A few things catch my eye, though. First, the skeleton has no legs or arms; I don’t know why this bothers me, but it does. Secondly, I know there were social problems at the time, but I wouldn’t mind living in an era when being pale was considered beautiful. Yes, Rosina is pale in order to contrast the darkness of the skeleton, but she’s also pale because that was considered beautiful in the 1800s. That trend can make a comeback any time now. Third, I love the expression on her face, the chin slightly down and the eyes up–the coyness. It looks like she’s hoping he’s going to ask her out for Friday night. ‘I might be free. If you manage to find some legs of some description, perhaps I’ll let you take me out.’

At least she doesn’t have to worry about him getting too handsy.

'The Beautiful Rosina' by Antoine Wiertz 1847

‘The Beautiful Rosina’ by Antoine Wiertz 1847

Faim la folie et le crime  or The Hunger, the Madness & the Crime, 1857. The title of this one explains everything you need to know and I get that the expression on the woman’s face is one of madness, but the position of her hands say, to my mind, ‘But of course! I was supposed to add the butter  before the baby legs!’ That’s right. I’ve just made a baby cannibalism joke. If I ever run for any public office ever, this is the thing that will be quoted at me, I’m sure. And my response will be, ‘Well, if you put the butter in after it makes it too greasy.’

'Faim la folie et le crime' Antoine Wiertz

‘Faim la folie et le crime’ (The Hunger, the Madness & the Crime) Antoine Wiertz 1857

If this post hasn’t put you off Wiertz entirely and you’d like to see his work in person, there’s a museum devoted to his works in Brussels. One of my favourite parts of the Wikipedia article on Wiertz are the quotes about the museum.

  • “If you’re into the shocking or nasty, it [the museum] may appeal.”
  • “In recent years the Wiertz Museum has attracted an average of just ten visitors a day … The Belgian state is legally stuck with all 220 of his [Wiertz’] works—dreadful though most of them are—and an obligation to display them forever. … [Wiertz was] perhaps the worst painter to have a government-funded museum all to himself, at least in the free world …”
Antoine Wiertz Museum

The Wiertz Museum in the Leopold section of Brussels

Now I really want to see his works in person. I want to be part of the ten percent!

Bonus info: If you’re curious about the dimensions of some of the gargantuan paintings up there, check out this more academic review of Wiertz’s work and an overview of his life by Graham Reid.

May
14
2013

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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