Painters have long been some of the most well-respected and venerated members of our society. As with all types of art, painting is supposed to make us stop and think and to give us a window into our own humanity. In this list of the most terrifying paintings you can imagine, the artists have completely disregarded delicate human sensibilities and have painted pieces with unsettling and often gruesome aspects to them. Whether it be countless images of the devil or his demons feasting on tormented and damned humans souls or images which show the gripping horrors and permanence of war, the paintings in this list are not for the faint of heart. From an English artist depicting the horrors of slavery to an edgy modern-day painter illustrating various post-apocalyptic scenarios, the artists herein run the gamut of different styles and time periods but share their desire to shock the viewer and generate public discussion from the image. From just plain weird to completely shocking and demented, see if you can make it through this entire list of 25 of the Most Terrifying Paintings You Can Imagine.
Caution: This list contains images some may find to be shocking, unsettling, and disturbing.
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"The Flaying of Marsyas", by Titian
Flaying is the process of slowly skinning someone alive which was used as a torture and execution method. In this painting by Titian, the satyr Marsyas is flayed for losing a musical challenge against the god Apollo. Gruesome as it is, the story is meant to chastise the excessive pride of an ordinary person (or satyr) to challenge a god.
"The Last Judgment", by Fra Angelico
A legendary Florentine painter of the 15th century, Fra Angelico was known for painting Biblical scenes with a special penchant for the last judgment and the return of Jesus.
"Head of an Idealist", by Ken Currie
Scottish painter Ken Currie is known for his figurative and often haunting portrait paintings. Here, he portrays the conflict between thoughts of the people and of the intellectuals in the seemingly dark and vacant eyes of the idealist.
"Night Creeper", by Zdzisław Beksiński
Zdzisław Beksiński most often paints in the style known as “Fantastic Realism”. Following its themes of deformed figures and exaggerated scenes, as in most of his paintings, “Night Creeper” gives off a sense of dread and fear.
"The Face of War", by Salvador Dalí
Spanish Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí used the neverendingness of death to protest against war in his painting entitled “The Face of War”, painted between the Spanish Civil War and World War 2.
If you want even more creepy paintings, check out these 25 disturbing art pieces.