Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Cursed Paintings - The Art of Fear!

Here's a link to an excellent article about paintings that, for whatever reason, give people the willies, or wiggins. I was surprised to find that there really are such things. Having read dozens of weird tales about haunted pictures and so forth, I'd always assumed they were just a convenient fictional device. But no, there really are paintings that upset people so much they have be hidden away.

Edwin Landseer’s 1864 “Man Proposes, God Disposes” has creeped people out since its debut with its dual polar bears scavenging at the wreckage of the ill-fated Franklin expedition to the Northwest Passage. One creature has a human rib bone rapturously clenched in its fangs; the other lunges at a scrap of fabric drenched in a blood-red color. William Michael Rossetti mourned it as the “saddest of membra disjecta.” The widowed Lady Franklin was unsurprisingly dismayed, and some even asked if Landseer, known for his noble dogs, was getting a bit unhinged.

The painting is so weird, in fact, that Royal Holloway College staff routinely drape it in a flag to stop it upsetting students. Whether it really sent a chap insane, causing him to commit suicide, is doubtful. But you can see how such a rumour might start...

Click to enlarge. If you dare...

Edwin Landseer, "Man Proposes, God Disposes" (1864), oil painting (via Wikimedia)

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