Monday, February 2, 2015

The Art of Murder

On a recent visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, I came across a two room exhibition of prints entitled The Art of Murder. A warning outside the gallery states that the exhibit might not be suitable for young children.

Included in the exhibit are a series of prints, many of great antiquity, each of which depicts the act of murder. Along with the usual representations of religious crucifixions are several pieces that reminded me strongly of the works of Edward Gorey.
On display are a number of prints showing Judith beheading Holofernes. It struck me that the gallery's child warning was amusing given that Mr. Gorey included a painting of Judith in his art gallery image for a Town & Country Magazine article entitled, "Art is Fun".

Also on display at the MIA is an 1848 glyphograph by George Cruikshank titled, "The Maniac Father and the Convict Brother are Gone - The Poor Girl, Homeless, Friendless, Deserted, Destitute, and Gin Mad, Commits Self Murder" (see image at the top of the post). Of course, the title alone could easily be the plot line of one of Mr. Gorey's books.

This image reminded me of several illustrations by Edward Gorey - the first from The Object Lesson, and the second from The Fatal Lozenge. Both of these illustrations bear a striking resemblance to the Cruikshank image.

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