Creepy Works of Art that May Just Keep You Up at Night

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
Vanitas Still Life by Jacques de Gheyn II. Courtesy of the Met; Charles B. Curtis, Marquand, Victor Wilbour Memorial, and The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Funds, 1974

Creepy Art We Love

Halloween is so much more than a day filled with trick-or-treating, ghost stories, costumes and gatherings. Halloween represents the creepy, the crawly, the things that make the hair on our arms stand up.

And, as artists and art lovers, what signifies Halloween can be found in famous works throughout art history — in spades! I mean, just take a look at ol’ Francisco Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son, and you will see what I mean. (Yikes!)

Since the actual holiday is just a few days away, we thought it would be only fitting to put an artsy spin on it by doing a roundup of some of the scariest works of art. Get ready, artists, because you’re in for a “treat.” Enjoy!

The Face of War — Salvador Dalí

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
The Face of War by Salvador Dalí. Courtesy of Wikiart (fair use)

Talk about the ultimate creep factor. It is a perfect example of why I avoid looking at the monsters in ANY horror film. But, let’s be honest, I avoid watching horror films in general.

Nymph and Satyr — Dosso Dossi

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
Nymph and Satyr by Dosso Dossi. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I am not completely sure what the story is behind this piece, but the face of the person on the left says it all. Actually, my expression pretty much mirrors the woman’s in this painting right now.

The Silver Tureen — Jean Siméon Chardin

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
The Silver Tureen by Jean Siméon Chardin. Courtesy of the Met; Fletcher Fund, 1959

Uhm, I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t pose dead animals as the subject of my still lifes. The cat seems to enjoy it though.

The Nightmare — Henry Fuseli

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever had a goblin-on-steroids, creep-to-the-max creature sitting on you while a white-eyed, undead horse peers through your curtain? Me either — that I know of; seems like it wouldn’t be that great, though.

The Cyclops — Odilon Redon

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
The Cyclops by Odilon Redon. Courtesy of WikiArt

OK, is it just me, or does this Cyclops look pretty friendly — and sort of adorable? I mean, it appears to be smiling with its eye so that part is a plus … but still, disturbing.

The Garden of Earthly Delights — Heironymous Bosch

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
The Garden of Earthly Delights (Prince of Hell) by Heironymous Bosch. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

There is a whole lot of crazy happening in Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights — especially this panel, which is said to depict the “Prince of Hell,” aka that creepy bird person-thingy who is devouring a human while tiny birds appear to be flying out of the person’s … you know. No thank you.

Young Holding his Dead Daughter in his Arms — Pierre-Auguste Vafflard

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
Young Holding his Dead Daughter in his Arms by Pierre-Auguste Vafflard. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“Don’t mind me. I am just going to bury this body now.” Not only is this a morbid moment to capture, but it is also quite sad considering this is depicting a man burying his daughter.

Small Portrait of a Girl in Yellow — Paul Klee

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
Small Portrait of a Girl in Yellow by Paul Klee. Courtesy of the Met; the Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984

Does this portrait need an explanation? I am just going to let you be the judge.

Judith Beheading Holofernes — Artemisia Gentileschi

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
Judith Beheading Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Wonder if this painting was, in part, inspired by Gentileschi’s frustration over male artists getting all the recognition back in the day? Nonetheless, Holofernes seems to be having quite a bad day here.

Saturn Devouring his Son — Francisco Goya

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
Saturn Devouring his Son by Francisco Goya. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It just wouldn’t be a roundup of creepy art if you didn’t include this spine-chilling work of art. Saturn must really hate kids…

And to wrap it up, check out this haunting artwork. Happy Halloween, artists!

Creepy Art | Halloween | Art History | Artist Daily
Kohada Koheiji by Katsushika Hokusai. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

What is your favorite spooky work of art? Tell us in the comments!

Related Posts:

Categories

Artist Daily Blog

One thought on “Creepy Works of Art that May Just Keep You Up at Night

  1. In my early 20’s I ran headlong into a used copy of a book titled “Big Sur and the Oranges of Heironymous Bosch”. I remember very little about the book at this point, but there must have been a cover illustration or some such with a reproduction of a painting by Bosch. And I was hooked. He is simply the strangest of the strange. One could stare at this painting for quite a long time without exhausting all the bizarre bits. Having come of age as the 60’s were melting into the 70’s, my thinking was along the lines of, “Man, if I had painted something like that in a high school art class, they would have hung me from the highest tree!”. I had no knowledge of the time in which he was working – no real context for understanding his work. Still…what a strange mind he must have occupied.

Comment