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This paper provides an analysis of Gothicism or neo-Gothic art as expressed in Henry ...... More...
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This paper provides an analysis of Gothicism or neo-Gothic art as expressed in Henry Fuseli’s “Gothic Nightmare.” The analysis uses the work to show how Gothicism both drew upon and deviated from the ideas and forms of medieval gothic art.
Gothicism Introduction In Gothic Nightmares Frayling Warner and Myrone describe the s as a decade in artistic output marked by the themes of violence horror and the supernatural in art or what they describe as the birth ofthe Gothic Front Matter The unveiling of Henry Fuseli\'s GothicNightmare in created shock among viewers too fascinated to look away The dark and grotesque images of William Blake and James Gilray wouldfollow but Fuseli\'s Gothic Nightmare remained an icon of the neo-Gothicart movement This analysis
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Fuseli's works paved the way for the increasinglygrotesque and horrific images of Gothicism.Work CitedFrayling, Christopher, Warner, Marina, and Myrone, Martin. In "Gothic Nightmare" we see thisextension by placing the beautiful women in distress at the mercy of theevil incubus that represents a threat to freedom or the woman's liberation. This analysis will use Fuseli's "Gothic Nightmare" todemonstrate the ways in which neo-Gothic or "Gothicism" both drew upon anddeviated from the ideas and forms of medieval gothic art. 78 4 Gothicism Introduction In Gothic Nightmares, Frayling, Warner, and Myrone describe the177 s as a decade in artistic output marked by the themes of violence,horror, and the supernatural in art or what they describe as the birth ofthe "Gothic" (Front Matter). Yet holding reign on top of herthighs is an evil-looking hobgoblin that sits in triumph staring at us insome form of rejected access to the alluring woman. We see in Fuseli's "Gothic Nightmare" a number of elementsassociated with medieval gothic art, including the use of malevolenthobgoblins or trolls that were common in medieval gothic art, architecture,and literature. In all of these expressions of Gothicism bothdrew upon and deviated from ideas and forms characteristic of medievalgothic art. The neo-Gothic period wasone of revolution and radical ideas in Europe and the sense of an impendingapocalypse is another element common in neo-Gothic works like "GothicNightmare" which is absent in medieval gothic art. In Fuseli's "Gothic Nightmare" wesee a beautiful woman who is alluring resting across her bed with her headhanging low. (Eds.) Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Gothic Imagination. New York: Tate Publishing, 2 6. The medieval notions of kings and queens and gods and goddesses,with nobles and peasants and the romanticism of it that were embodied inmedieval works of art were often drawn on by the neo-Gothic artists, butthey extended these concepts into darker and more fantastic worlds thatinvolved extreme fantasies and battles between good and evil insupernatural or psychological realms. The unveiling of Henry Fuseli's "GothicNightmare" in 1782 created shock among viewers too fascinated to look away. For example, many of the elements of classical Gothicliterature of the 19th century are featured in the works of Fuseli andothers in the neo-Gothic movement like fantastic settings, castles, lightsburning in decaying homes, locked rooms, and beautiful women threatened bysome ogres or tyrannical male presence. For example, Fuseli, Blake and many other greatartists of the neo-Gothic period stayed away from topical or current eventsin their works, unlike many artists of the medieval gothic period.Instead, Fuseli repeatedly used the Bible and Shakespeare for hisreferences to pit good versus evil in his works. In the background ahorse with its flaring nostrils seems poised to rescue the beautiful womanfrom the hideous control of the malevolent troll. Body The rise of Gothicism in painting was mirrored by its rise inarchitecture and literature. The dark and grotesque images of William Blake and James Gilray wouldfollow but Fuseli's "Gothic Nightmare" remained an icon of the neo-Gothicart movement. Conclusion The influence of literature and fantasy on neo-Gothic art is clearlyvisible in Fuseli's "Gothic Nightmare." The work also embodies severalelements of the medieval gothic art period, though it clearly extends theseinto the darker realm of fantasy and horror that were characteristic of theneo-Gothic movement that Frayling, Warner, and Myrone maintain culminatedin the ultimate horror of Mary Shelly's man-made monster in Frankenstein(Front Matter). Likewise the medieval tales of romance and Arthurianlegend readily lend themselves to elements in Fuseli's painting, like thedamsel in distress with her loyal steed waiting nearby for her rescue.Despite these similarities, however, there are a number of ways in whichGothicism or neo-Gothic art deviates from the elements associated withmedieval gothic art. Her long swan-like neck is exposed, her lips are seductivelyparted, and her eyes are tightly shut. The snorting horse awaiting his rider in the background extends thechivalric or romantic elements of the piece into the fantastical, as doesthe hobgoblin evilly perched atop the woman clad only in a thin nightgown.
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