People have been painting creepy art since the first cave paintings. You’ll find them in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Renaissance Europe. The great gothic art movement started in the mid-17th century, and it captured the imagination of artists from all over Europe. Whether it’s gothic architecture with its elaborate and spooky designs, or gothic novels filled with phantoms and demons, the gothic genre tends to be dark and disturbing.
Troubled times often inspire art, and in the 1700s there were a lot of people with a lot of problems. The Black Death had decimated Europe 50 years before, so there was no shortage of nightmares to draw from! Gothic art is famous for its obsession with death, torture, decay, monsters, murderers, ghosts, and other creepy characters and images.
You can see a variety of gothic paintings on this blog. Most are available as prints you can buy for your home or office. Some are also available on t-shirts or other clothing items.
The Renaissance was a time of great artistic and intellectual growth for the Western world. However, it was also the time that gave birth to some of the most horrifying art ever created – that which has come to be known as “Gothic Art.” Though it may appear at first glance to be a primitive and ugly form of art, Gothic art is actually quite sophisticated and complex in its own right.
Truly, this branch of art has become an integral part of our cultural heritage, as recognizable (and sometimes just as frightening) as other forms of Gothic literature and architecture. Although this genre of art is most well-known for its religious paintings – think about the 15th-century triptychs created by Hans Memling or Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, for example – it is also often used for other purposes as well. For instance, it is not uncommon to find Gothic art employed in horror films to set an appropriately dark mood.
1. **The Fall of the Rebel Angels** (1496) by Lorenzo Costa
This painting is one of my favorites. I’m a huge fan of this kind of art, and it’s such a great piece to start out with because it has a lot of detail and you can tell it’s important to the artist. I love how the hands are used, but also how the hands are just there without an actual body attached to them. The expressions on the faces are very interesting, and for me it’s very symbolic and still has a gothic feel to it even though it was created in the 1500s. The colors used on this painting are perfect, especially since gothic art is very colorful in general.
This piece is from a time when gothic art was at its peak. It’s interesting because we know that as gothic art became more popular, artists would go overboard with details to make their paintings more appealing, going for quantity instead of quality. When you look at this painting you can see that there’s plenty of detail but everything is balanced out and doesn’t look overdone.*
2. *The Creation of Adam* (1510-1513) by Michelangelo
This one has got to be one of my
A gothic painting is a painting that uses gothic art motifs in the composition, like skeletons, death, demons, or monsters. The origin of this kind of art dates back to the medieval art and architecture. The term “gothic” was originally used to describe the style of architecture developed in medieval Europe during the 12th century. Gothic architecture was characterized by arches, rib vaults and pointed arches. The style was very dark and full of details and patterns on the walls and ceilings that represented religion, mythology and culture.
Towards the end of the Middle Ages, beginning in the 1400s, a lot of painters began using gothic architectural elements in their paintings as well. They would include columns with pointed arches and flying buttresses along their compositions. Most of these paintings focused on religious themes, but some also included portraits. Artists such as Pieter Bruegel created paintings that depicted tragedies like hellfire and the Day of Judgment; these paintings are known as “doom paintings.”
The use of gothic architecture in paintings slowly died out by 1750; only a few artists continued to use it into the 19th century. However, new versions were created in the 1800s by artists like William Blake
It is not surprising that gothic art has come back into popular culture. This style of art was an expression of the uneasiness people felt in a changing world. While the church was losing power, the new modern science was gaining it. It also helps that gothic architecture is striking and eerie, and a perfect backdrop for this kind of drama.
Tenebrism, a term used by artists to describe the use of shadows in drawings or paintings to create an eerie effect, has been used throughout the history of art. However, the term gained popularity when artists such as Caravaggio started using it during the Baroque period.
This kind of painting style can be used to portray any subject matter; however, it is most commonly associated with religious scenes and portraits. The further removed from reality a subject is, the more dramatic tenebrism can be used to make it seem. For example, Jesus’ face was often painted this way in gothic paintings.
Tenebrism is especially popular in gothic art because these kinds of paintings are often about illustrating emotions rather than physical reality. Using this technique creates a sense of mystery and tension that makes viewers feel more connected to what they are seeing.
As you can
The Gothic period was an artistic movement that began in the late 13th century and lasted until the mid-16th century. It places emphasis on expression of individual emotion and a heightened sense of awareness of death, decay, and melancholia. Artists used color in ways that appeal to emotion and imagination; they used light and shadow to show depth and volume.
The art of the period features a large amount of religious imagery, which can lead to confusion when distinguishing between the artists who created these works. Much like the style itself, the artists are grouped together based on their employment status or location. The major categories include:
The Early Gothic Artists: The first generation of this style was comprised of Medieval artists who worked during the early part of the 14th century, with most based in France. They were generally employed by French cathedrals, where they worked directly for bishops or abbots.
These artists created pieces that were far more detailed than those done during previous eras. Their pieces included florid details, such as leaves and vines wrapping around figures or objects. They also showed a great attention to detail when it came to background elements, such as clouds or buildings in the distance.
Because these artists painted directly on stone walls (a technique called fresco), their
“Gothic art” is an umbrella term for an artistic movement that grew out of the medieval period. During this time, art was heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, and a great deal of it was created to represent religious imagery. This style of art was known as “Renaissance” or “medieval.” Gothic art began to appear during the 13th century and continued into the 16th century.
Artists during this time often depicted religious or mythological stories in their paintings, as well as images of death and decay. Artists also often used gothic architecture for inspiration, creating buildings with tall spires and stained glass windows.
Towards the end of the 14th century, artists began to break away from traditional religious themes. Instead, particularly in France, they started painting portraits of wealthy patrons and scenes from literature with a more secular focus. This form of art is known as “International” or “courtly,” which inspired later movements such as Neoclassicism.