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Dante and Virgil

Dante_et_Virgile-William_Bouguereau-IMG_8283Name: Dante and Virgil

Artist: William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Year: 1850

Type: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 281 cm x 225 cm

Location: Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Style: Neoclassicism

Subject: The Divine Comedy

Dante and Virgil is a 1850 oil on canvas painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. It is presently on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The painting depicts Dante and Virgil looking on as two damned souls are entwined in combat. One of the souls is an alchemist and heretic named Capocchio. In this depiction Capocchio is being bitten on the neck by Gianni Schicchi who had used fraud to claim another man’s inheritance. – Source

Inspiration:

This painting was inspired by a short scene from the Inferno, set in the eighth circle of Hell (the circle for falsifiers and counterfeiters), where Dante, accompanied by Virgil, watches a fight between two damned souls: Capocchio, a heretic and alchemist is attacked and bitten on the neck by Gianni Schicchi who had usurped the identity of a dead man in order to fraudulently claim his inheritance. – Source

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Skull of Skeleton with Burning Cigarette

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Head_of_a_skeleton_with_a_burning_cigarette_-_Google_Art_Project

Name: Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette

Artist: Vincent Van Gogh

Year: 1885-86

Type: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 32 cm x 24.5 cm

Location: Van Gogh Museu, Amsterdam 

One of the rarely mentioned horror artworks of Van Gogh’s oeuvre is his painting Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette, part of the studies of skeletons from his Antwerp period. In the tradition of everyday allegoric paintings of Renaissance, it carries a message of Memento Mori within the post-impressionism, and it is considered as a personal reminder on the harmful effects of smoking for the artist himself, as he was a keen smoker and frail at the same time. The ambivalence of the death and death causing human practices is the most terrifying aspect of this even humorous painting. – Source

The Nightmare

John_Henry_Fuseli_-_The_Nightmare.jpgName: The Nightmare

Artist: Henry Fuseli

Year: 1781

Type: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 101.6 x 127 mm

Location: Detroit Institute of Arts

 

The Nightmare is a 1781 oil painting by Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli. It shows a woman in deep sleep with her arms thrown below her, in a room filled with white light, and with a demonic and apelike incubus crouched on her chest.

 

Interpretation

Interpretations vary. The canvas seems to portray simultaneously a dreaming woman and the content of her nightmare. The incubus and horse’s head refer to contemporary belief and folklore about nightmares, but have been ascribed more specific meanings by some theorists. Contemporary critics were taken aback by the overt sexuality of the painting, since interpreted by some scholars as anticipating Jungian ideas about the unconscious.

Description

The Nightmare simultaneously offers both the image of a dream—by indicating the effect of the nightmare on the woman—and a dream image—in symbolically portraying the sleeping vision. It depicts a sleeping woman draped over the end of a bed with her head hanging down, exposing her long neck. She is surmounted by an incubus that peers out at the viewer. The sleeper seems lifeless, and, lying on her back, takes a position then believed to encourage nightmares. Her brilliant coloration is set against the darker reds, yellows, and ochres of the background; Fuseli used a chiaroscuro effect to create strong contrasts between light and shade. The interior is contemporary and fashionable, and contains a small table on which rests a mirror, phial, and book. The room is hung with red velvet curtains which drape behind the bed. Emerging from a parting in the curtain is the head of a horse with bold, featureless eyes. – Wikipedia

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