Halloween with William Blake and Henry Fuseli for the most part!
The Wicked Fairy for 'At the Back of the North Wind' by Arthur Hughes c.1870
The Night of Enitharmon's Joy (formerly called 'Hecate') c.1795 by William Blake, Tate Gallery
William Blake depicts Enitharmon, a female character in his mythology, or Hecate, the goddess of magic and the underworld. She is The Triple Hecate or The Triple Goddess as represented in Celtic Mythology. The triple theme also relates to the religious aspect of the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost. Though, doubtful that is what Blake is channeling here. Hecate, ‘is triple, according to mythology; a girl and a boy hide their heads behind her back. Her left hand lies on a book of magic; her left foot is extended. She is attended by a thistle-eating ass, the mournful owl of false wisdom, the head of a crocodile and a cat-headed bat.’
The Nightmare 1781 Oil on canvas by John Henry Fuseli
There are two versions of The Nightmare is one of the first paintings that comes to mind when you think Gothic or Horror. The painting depicts a woman lying down in her bedroom either asleep or in erotic orgasm as she is taken by some sort of imp as a horse looks on in the background. The painting is one of supernatural themes and was first exhibited in public in 1782.
The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli, 1790, Tate Gallery
The Mandrake A Charm by Henry Fuseli, 1785, Tate Gallery
So the legend goes that the Mandrake holds mystical powers and when you pull it out and dig it out by the root it screams.Well, wouldn't you? When this painting was exhibited in 1785, a critic wrote: ‘We have frequently had occasion to admire the enthusiasm and eccentricity of this artist’s imagination; but here it is genius run mad.’ He noted how odd it was that the witch’s daughter was so fashionably dressed. (Tate Gallery)
Anyone else thinking...
Mandrake scene in Harry Potter...don't forget your earmuffs!
The Witch and The Mandrake by Henry Fuseli, 1812, Tate Gallery
In this case The Mandrake is shown as a human female figure instead of the rooted plant! I wonder why Fuseli went that way?
The Night-Hag Visiting Lapland Witches by Henry Fuseli, 1796, Tate Gallery
According to Tate Gallery this painting was lent to the Tate by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Background of the painting, ''This scene of supernatural wickedness is derived from a simile in John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667). In the foreground, a witch squatting next to a child laid onto a stone slab is momentarily distracted by the arrival of the ‘night hag’. That figure is the horserider surrounded by a weird glow and accompanied by a pack of hounds. Witches dance wildly in the mid-ground. They are celebrating the imminent sacrifice of the child.
… About her middle round
A cry of Hell-hounds never-ceasing barked
With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung
A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep,
If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb,
And kennel there; yet there still barked and howled
Within unseen. Far less abhorred than these
Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore;
Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, called
In secret, riding through the air she comes,
Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance
With Lapland witches, while the labouring moon
Eclipses at their charms.
Paradise Lost (1667), Book II, ll.613-26: