Art & Horror: A Living Portfolio

by Soukayna Volume 23, Issue 4-5 / April 2019 1 minute (239 words)

In visual arts, most of us tend to think of horror under the medium of cinema. While it is true that the film industry has allowed the public to feel discomfort by facing us with uncanny visuals, monstrous characters, and violent imagery, so have other forms of art. Cinema, being an amalgam of different references and histories, has often found inspiration in existing imageries and stories throughout history and other art mediums—especially painting. The images in the following selection have often been used and re-used in cinema, and support the idea that horror, before being a film genre, is a style in itself when it comes to the visual arts. The images are divided in three themes: ‘The Uncanny in Surrealism’, ‘The Female Monster in Mythology and Visual Art’, and ‘Death, Horror, and Disfiguration of the Human Body’. For each theme, I have selected images of artworks that give you that same feeling of discomfort, some that represent the story of female characters that are linked to horror and monstrosity, others that are simply horrific because of how close they are to us, and stills from movies that might have been influenced by the shown artworks.

The Uncanny in Surrealism

Maternity, Dorothea Tanning (1946-47)

Still from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Don Siegel (1956)

Women Trees, Paul Delvaux (1937)

The Scream, Gerald Scarfe for The Wall (1982)

Poster for Inferno, Dario Argento (1980)

The Face of War, Salvador Dali (1940)

Coleccionista, Jose Luis Lopez Galva (2012)

Still from Ex Machina, Alex Garland (2014)

Necronom IV, H. R. Giger (1976)

Still from Alien, Ridley Scott (1979)

The Smiling Spider, Odilon Redon (1891)

Still from Tarantula, Jack Arnold (1955)

Maman, Louise Bourgeois (1999)

Still from Webs, David Wu (2003)

Nihil/Floriana, Saturno Butto (2010)

Poster Art, Hannibal TV show (2013)

Collage from the Surrealist Novel A Week of Kindness, Max Ernst (1934)

Study After Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Francis Bacon (1953)

The Female Monster in Mythology and Visual Art

Medusa, Franz von Stuck (1892)

Still from The Gorgon, Terence Fisher (1964)

Judith Slaying Holofernes, Artemisia Gentileschi (1614-20)

Still from Neighbor, Robert Angelo Masciantonio (2009)

Laughing Hannya, Katsushika Hokusai (1831)

Still from Onibaba, Kaneto Shindo (1964)

Arachne, Gustave Doré (1868)

Still from Il Demonia, Brunello Rondi (1963)

From his Series on witchcraft, Francisco Goya (1797-98)

Still from Kill, Baby, Kill, Mario Bava (1966)

Krasue, Xavier Romero-Frias (2012)

Still from Krasue Sao, S. Naowaratch (1973)

Death, Horror, and Disfiguration of the Human Body

Anatomical Pieces, Théodore Géricault (1819)

Still from Body Parts, Eric Red (1991)

Women Laughing Alone Without Salad, Magdalena Pazewicz (2015)

From his Series Retratos Íntimos, Fábio Malgalhães

The Judgment of Cambyses, Gérard David (1498)

Still from Hostel: Part II, Eli Roth (2007)

Saturn Devouring His Son, Francisco Goya (1819-23)

Still from Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro (2006)

Self Portrait with Blue Slash, Anthony Micallef (2015)

Still from Transfiguration, Olivier de Sagazan (series began in 1999)

Xue Jiye (title and date unknown)

Still from Poltergeist, Tobe Hooper (1982)

Sarah Sitkin (2018)

Pinhead, Cenobite from the Hellraiser series (1987-)

Art & Horror: A Living Portfolio

Soukayna is a writer, multidisciplinary-artist, historian, and curator whose work focuses on darkness and light, and their continuous dichotomy. She has self-published a poetry book titled WORDS in April 2018, animated multiple panels and lectures from 2016 to this day, and worked closely with art festivals such as Art Matters and SOIR. She is currently studying at Concordia University in the joint major of Art History and Film Studies, with a minor in French Literature.

Volume 23, Issue 4-5 / April 2019 Artist’s Page   art history   horror   painting