The Scariest Paintings: Halloween Edition

 Happy Halloween Everyone!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and there isn't anything else that I love more than bringing Halloween and art together for a very special BLOG post honoring the scariest paintings in the history of art (in my opinion)!

I have gathered up some of the most disturbing paintings by acclaimed and famous artists, showing that our taste for horror and Halloween has been present in very different stylistic periods of art history. Here is a list (in no order) of the paintings that terrified me while studying art history.


1. "The Scream" by Edvard Munch

Although I don't find this painting very frightening, this painting did inspire the mask of Wes Craven's "Scream" serial-killer. He has said, "It's a classic reference to just the pure horror of parts of the 20th century, or perhaps just human existence." Now doesn't that make you look at the Scream mask a bit differently? 


2. "Saturn Devouring His Son" by Francisco Goya

I have seen this painting many times in person at the Prado Museum and up close it gives me the creeps! It portrays Saturn as a vicious cannibal taking a bite from a bloody body. #Disturbing


3. "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun" by William Blake

This watercolor painting served as inspiration for the main antagonist in Thomas Harris' novel "Red Dragon" and it's film adaptation which was a prequel to the "Silence of the Lambs"


4. "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch

This is the one painting that I could not stop looking at. There are so many details and hidden elements that continue to give me nightmares. It is based on various sorts of torture that are inflicted on people who commit deadly sins on Earth and are condemned to eternal damnation. In detail and up close the depiction of Hell is so disturbing and shocking. Below is a small chaotic portion of the third panel.


 5. "The Face of War" by Salvador Dali

I love Dali and have a fondness for surrealism. This painting is particularly unnerving because it depicts the infinity of war with decay and screaming (similar to Edvard Munch's "The Scream").


6. "Painting" by Francis Bacon

This painting reminds me of something out of "True Detective" (Season 1). What is so interesting about this painting is that Bacon had no intention of creating the painting as it is now. According to Bacon himself, it was his subconscious that told him what should appear on the canvas. It originally started out as a picture of a chimpanzee and then it turned into something else completely. I am not sure where the butcher shop concept came from but I don't want to find out.


7. "The Clown" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

This painting is probably the one that makes me cringe the most. I hate clowns. Again, I hate clowns (specifically male clowns). They scare me the most out of anything on Halloween. I think I was permanently scarred from watching Stephen King's "It" when I was a child. 




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