Halloween is coming. Double, double, toil and trouble fire burn, and cauldron bubble – William Shakespeare. Nothing on earth is so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night. Let’s light some candles, grab yourself a warm blanket, and get ready for the scariest night of the year…
Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ evening”), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in many countries on 31st October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It is said that many Halloween traditions may have been influenced by ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, which may have had pagan roots; some scholars hold that Samhain may have been Christianized as All Hallow’s Day, along with its eve, by the early Church. Other academics believe, however, that Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday, being the vigil of All Hallow’s Day.
Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising and souling), attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, as well as watching horror films. However…, nothing better than a wonderful art books on the spooky and creepy.
Here are the books that keep you up at night:
Dracula by Elizabeth Miller
Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere…
Transylvanian mystique and legendary hauntedness surround the most infamous Bram Stoker’s protagonists, forming a legacy that allows the myth to continue into modern times, maintaining a cultish following, yet broadening to a general fascination. Intrigued by evil and gore, Stoker developed a literary presence that was effortlessly translated to screen by the likes of Murnau, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Francis Ford Coppola. Dracula became such an obsession as it embodied a taboo subject matter: the desire for blood and sex.
This ideal book filled with extraordinary pictures of the Count, his literary companions, and the movie idols, this is a treasure only to be read by daylight!
Art of the Devil by Arturo Graf
“The Devil holds the strings which move us!Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil, 1857
Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer… the Devil has many names and faces, all of which have always served artists as a source of inspiration. Often commissioned by religious leaders as images of fear or veneration, depending on the society, representations of the underworld served to instruct believers and lead them along the path of righteousness. For other artists, such as Hieronymus Bosch, they provided a means of denouncing the moral decrepitude of one’s contemporaries.
In the same way, literature dealing with the Devil has long offered inspiration to artists wishing to exorcise evil through images, especially the works of Dante and Goethe. In the 19th century, romanticism, attracted by the mysterious and expressive potential of the theme, continued to glorify the malevolent. Auguste Rodin’s The Gates of Hell, the monumental, tormented work of a lifetime, perfectly illustrates this passion for evil, but also reveals the reason for this fascination. Indeed, what could be more captivating for a man than to test his mastery by evoking the beauty of the ugly and the diabolic?
Art of the Eternal by Victoria Charles
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”– William Blake, Auguries of Innocence
Since the first funerary statues were placed in the first sepulchres, the ideas of death and the afterlife have always held a prominent place at the heart of the art world.
An unlimited source of inspiration where artists can search for the expression of the infinite, death remains the object of numerous rich illustrations, as various as they are mysterious. The ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, the forever sleeping statues on medieval tombs, and the Romantic and Symbolist movements of the 19th century are all evidence of the incessant interest that fuels the creation of artworks featuring themes of death and what lies beyond it.
In this work, Victoria Charles analyses how, through the centuries, art has become the reflection of these interrogations linked to mankind’s fate and the hereafter.
Apocalypse by Camille Flammarion
The final book of the Bible, known both as The Book of Revelation and The Apocalypse of John, is a prophesy of the events that will occur at the end of time. During the Middle Ages, in a society which held a deep belief in God and was mainly ruled by religious authorities, this apocalyptic theme recurs in art, through various media, including tapestries, illuminations, sculpture, and painting. This book pools the most famous pieces of art inspired by this theme, such as the Apocalypse drapery from Angers Cathedral, the carved tympanum of the Autun Cathedral, and the fresco in Albi Cathedral. The theme of the Apocalypse was a means to impress minds, whilst also allowing artists to develop their imaginations; its symbolic content allowing for many different interpretations.