Δευτέρα, 31 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Christoph Michaelis

Christoph Michaelis is a contemporary artist and photographer. His work is dark, sci-fi horror and surrealistic. Visit his SITE and Deviant art for more of his work.

Δευτέρα, 24 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Grýla, an Icelandic Christmas monster

Grýla by Þrándur Þórarinsson
Grýla, is in Icelandic mythology, a horrifying monster and a giantess living in the mountains of Iceland. She is said to come from the mountains at Christmas in search of naughty children. The Grýla legend has been frightening to the people of Iceland for many centuries - her name is even mentioned in Snorri Sturluson’s thirteenth century Edda. Most of the stories told about Gryla were to frighten children – her favourite dish was a stew of naughty kids and she had an insatiable appetite. Grýla was not directly linked to Christmas until in the 17th century. By that time she had become the mother of the Yule Lads. A public decree was issued in 1746 prohibiting the use of Grýla and the Yule Lads to terrify children. According to folklore Grýla has been married three times. Her third husband Leppalúði is said to be living with her in their cave in the Dimmuborgir lava fields, with the big black Yule Cat and their sons. As Christmas approaches, Grýla sets off looking for naughty boys and girls. The Grýla legend has appeared in many stories, poems, songs and plays in Iceland and sometimes Grýla dies in the end of the story.

Τρίτη, 18 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse

A Dutch historian has put together a haunting photo series that merges the past and the present. For “Ghosts of War,” Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse superimposed images of World War II soldiers onto images of present-day European streets where they once fought.

Teeuwisse started her project after finding some 300 WWII photographs at a flea market. She then went about visiting the sites in the images and re-photographing the backgrounds. Teeuwisse said visiting the sites had a powerful emotional effect. “I knew what happened there, but knowing the exact spot of some detail will etch it into your visual memory,” she said. http://www.thedaily.com

Τετάρτη, 12 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Bolesław Biegas

Bolesław Biegas (1877–1954) was a Polish surrealist artist (painter and sculptor), best known for his "vampire-as-femme fatale" style of painting. His monstrous images have similarities with medieval monster illustrations and with the monstrous races from Ulisse Aldrovandi's Monstrorum Historia (1642). You can see more of his paintings in the great blog MONSTER BRAINS.

Also two of his sculptures, the most creepy I think:

Mighty Spirit
Chopin's Funeral March

Πέμπτη, 6 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Eugene Delacroix, Faust illustrations

In 1827, Eugene Delacroix created a set of 17 lithographs for a French edition of Goetheʼs “Faust”, using the newly invented medium of lithography. Goethe wrote on Delacroixʼs 1828 lithographs for Faust:  “Delacroix has surpassed my own vision.”

1827 - 1828, oil on canvas

Παρασκευή, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Charles Verschuuren's macabre theater posters

Charles Verschuuren (1891 - 1955) was a Dutch painter and illustrator mainly for posters , both advertisements for various products like theater and movie posters. Best known is perhaps his poster for the film The Jantjes.

Κυριακή, 25 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Étienne-Gaspard Robert's Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria was a form of theatre which used a modified magic lantern to project frightening images such as skeletons, demons, and ghosts onto walls, smoke, or semi-transparent screens, frequently using rear projection. The projector was mobile, allowing the projected image to move and change size on the screen, and multiple projecting devices allowed for quick switching of different images. Invented in France in the late 18th century, it gained popularity through most of Europe (especially England) throughout the 19th century.

Étienne-Gaspard Robert (1763–1837), was a prominent Belgian stage magician and influential developer of phantasmagoria. Alongside his pioneering work on projection techniques for his shows Robert was also a physics lecturer and a keen balloonist at a time of great development in aviation.

Robert developed a phantasmagoria show based around his projection system and the use of other effects and techniques. Robert scripted scenes that involved actors and ventriloquism alongside his projections, creating a convincing impression of the appearance of ghosts. Robert used several projection devices in a variety of ways, including rear projection and projection onto large pieces of wax-coated gauze (giving the image a more translucent appearance). He also used smoke and mirrors to further disguise the mechanisms behind his show.

In 1797, Robert presented his first "fantasmagorie" at the Pavillon de l'Echiquier in Paris. The macabre atmosphere in the post-revolutionary city was perfect for Robertson's Gothic extravaganza complete with elaborate creations and Radcliffean décor.

After discovering that he could put the magic lantern on wheels to create either a moving image or one that increased and decreased in size, Robertson moved his show. In an abandoned crypt of a Capuchin convent near the Place Vendôme, he staged hauntings, using several lanterns, special sound effects and the eerie atmosphere of the tomb. This show lasted for six years, mainly because of the appeal of the supernatural to Parisians.

Robert mainly used images surrounded by black in order to create the illusion of free-floating ghosts. However, he also would use multiple projectors, set up in different locations throughout the venue, in order to place the ghosts in environments. For instance, one of his first phantasmagoria shows displayed a lightning-filled sky with both ghosts and skeletons receding and approaching the audience. In order to add to the horror, Robert and his assistants would sometimes create voices for the phantoms. Often, the audience forgot that these were tricks and were completely terrified:

“I am only satisfied if my spectators, shivering and shuddering, raise their hands or cover their eyes out of fear of ghosts and devils dashing towards them.” Robert wrote.

In fact, many people were so convinced of the reality of his shows that police temporarily halted the proceedings, believing that Robert had the power to bring Louis XVI back to life. Once the show was back, Robert was exposed to the law again, this time in the form of a lawsuit against his former assistants who had started their own phantasmagoria shows using his techniques. It was this lawsuit in 1799 in which Robert was required to reveal his secrets to the public and magic lantern shows popped up across Europe and in the United States shortly after, though many were not as elaborate as Robert's. (wikipedia1 and wikipedia2) His tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris is a piece of sculpture art and was inspired by his spactacles: