Tate Gallery | ISBN 9781854375827
Paperback – 224 pages
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The 1770s was marked by the emergence of themes of violence, horror and the supernatural in art: the birth of the Gothic. In 1782, the unveiling of Henry Fuseli's painting "The Nightmare" was met with a mixture of shock and fascination. The cosmic visions of William Blake, the vast, neo-classical history paintings of James Barry and the searing, grotesque caricatures of James Gilray all emerged during a time of political and social upheaval, matched by similarly extreme developments in the literature of the period. While there have been several critical reassessments of Gothic literature in recent years, "Gothic Nightmares", which accompanies a groundbreaking exhibition at Tate Britain, will be the first serious consideration of these themes in visual art. Six sections explore individual themes: the Gothic nightmare, examining Fuseli's famous painting in context; the Sublime vision of the Gothic hero, tortured and imprisoned; the influence of literature and fantasy on art; visions of the Apocalypse; the exploration of extreme violence as experienced during the French Revolution; and the obsession with scientific revelation culminating in the vision of ultimate horror in Mary Shelley's man-made monster, Frankenstein. Centring around the pivotal figures of Henry Fuseli and William Blake, artists featured include: Thomas Rowlandson, James Gilray, John Hamilton Mortimer, James Barry, George Romney, Richard and Maria Cosway and Benjamin West. The book will include paintings, drawings, prints, caricatures, and illustrated books.
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