Eye Candy for Today: Fuseli’s Nightmare

The Nightmare, Henru Fuseli
The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli, 1781; The Nightmare, engraving after Fuseli by Thomas Burke; The Nightmare Henri Fuseli, 1791; The Nightmare, engraving after Fuseli by Thomas Halloway

Images are from Wikimedia Commons; original of the first version is in the Detroit Institute of Arts

This 18th century painting by English-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli has become one of those famous and familiar images that is hard to see with fresh eyes — as a painting rather than a cultural icon.

The painting achieved almost immediate notoriety in its time, critics found it scandalous and improper due to the sexual nature of the work. An engraving by Thomas Burke was widely popular, and the image became the subject of cartoons and other mention in popular culture.

Though the painting appears to depict both dream and dreamer, it may be more likely that it is the artist’s nightmare — one of unrequited love, representing a young woman with whom Fuseli was in love and proposed marriage to, but whose father disapproved and who married another not long after. Perhaps the demon is a stand-in for the woman’s eventual husband.

The painting was so popular that Fuseli painted several other versions. The most famous of the three surviving alternative versions was done in 1870 or 1871, for which there was an engraving by Thomas Halloway.

See my post on Henry Fuseli.


Nate Wragg (update)

Nate Wragg, concept art, illustration
Nate Wragg is an concept artist, character designer and illustrator for the film industry and childrens’ books, who I first wrote about in 2009.

Wragg noted for his lively, whimsical style that embidies some of the spirit of mid-20th century book illustration and TV animation as well as a modern sensibility.

Wragg’s film credits include Ratatouille, Puss in Boots, The Croods, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Toy Story 3.

He is the illustrator on book titles like At the Old Haunted House, Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears and the just released Elwood Bigfoot: Wanted: Birdie Friends!.

Wragg teaches an online class in Character Design for Production for the CG Master Academy 2D Academy. There is a brief video interview with Wragg on his CGMA bio page and a video preview of the class from 2012 on YouTube.


Eye Candy for Today: Meryon’s Apsis of Notre Dame

L'abside de Notre-Dame de Paris</a></em> (The Apsis of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris), Charles Meryon, etching”  /><br />
<em><a href=L’abside de Notre-Dame de Paris (The Apsis of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris), Charles Meryon

Etching with engraving and drypoint, state 3 of 9; 6 1/2 x 3 3/4 (16.5x29cm).

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project, original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has downloadable files; but you have to create a (free) account to get the highest-resolution version.

This beautiful mid-19th century etching captures not only the striking presence of the cathedral, but the activity on the quay and the flights of birds across the sky. I love Meryon’s handling of the clouds in particular.

Like most prints of its kind, this image was printed as multiple impressions in multiple states; you will find variations of the print in other collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Collection.


Steven Hileman

Steven Hileman, landscape and still life paintings
Originally from Pennsylvania and now based in Maine, Steven Hileman transitioned from a career as an illustrator into a full time gallery artist.

Hileman paints florals, still life and figureative works, but concentrates primarily on landscape and cityscape. His approach if notable for the manner in which his painterly brush marks work into and reinforce the textural quality of his representation of natural forms.

I particularly enjoy the way he often chooses a restrained palette in his landscapes, allowing his control of value, texture and edge variation move your eye through the composition.

There is an interview with Hileman on The Art Edge.

Be aware that the Archive gallery on his http://stevenhileman.com has multiple pages, accessed from numbered links at the bottom of the page.

[Via FASO]


Eye Candy for Today: Tenniel’s Cheshire Cat

John Tenniel's Cheshire Cat for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Cheshire Cat in the Tree Above Alice, illustration for for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, John Tenniel

Several museums are all atwitter today with images for something called “National Cat Day”, apparently a day when the Ancient Egyptian tradition of cat worship takes over the internet — even more than usual.

As a cat person myself, I sometimes must succumb, and therefore offer an image of John Tenniel’s wonderful illustration of that most famous of cats from Wonderland.

The image is on Wikimedia Commons. I don’t know if the original drawings still exist. Tenniel drew the original guide drawings in ink, sometimes corrected with gouache. These were then traced onto the woodblocks into which the engravings were cut for the prints that accompanied the first editions.

This is just a reproduction of modern reprintings, but there is a Tenniel hand-watercolored version of the image in the Morgan Library, that I featured in a previous Eye Candy post from 2013. See also my 2006 post on Sir John Tenniel.


An Object at Rest

An Object at Rest, animated short, Seth Boyden

An Object at Rest is an animated short (5 mins) by Seth Boyden that chronicles the eons-long life of a stone as time, and human activity, goes on around it.

In this and some of his other animated shorts, Boyden has combined animation done in the TV Paint application with backgrounds painted in traditional watercolor on paper, giving a charming hand painted feeling well in keeping with his whimsical approach.

[Via Cartoon Brew]