• Culture

The Darkest Paintings From Art History Any Goth Will Appreciate

List RulesIf you're Goth, vote up the works of art you'd proudly display in your home.

What defines "Goth art"? Much like every aspect of the subculture itself, there are numerous paintings created with the Goth aesthetic in mind. Still, there is a wealth of dark images created well before the concept of Goth ever came to fruition. Decades, even centuries before teenagers of all walks of life, including future famous celebrities, went through their so-called "Goth phases," artists crafted haunting depictions of disease, devils, and existential dread. Much of this gothic imagery can be considered "proto-Goth," in particular the poetic renderings of suffering by John Everett Millais, and the anxiety-infused paintings by Edvard Much, especially his seminal work "The Scream," to name only two.

This collection of gothic paintings, created by some of the most renowned painters in history, works as a kind of beginners guide to the images that either directly inspired the Goth movement or inherently appeal to the Goth-minded individual, given their dark and even twisted leanings. 

  • 1

    'Hell' By Hieronymus Bosch, c. 1490

    Photo: Hieronymus Bosch / Wikipedia / Public Domain
    Hell is a Hieronymus Bosch painting made after 1490. It is currently in the Palazzo Ducale, in Venice, Italy. This painting is part of a series of four, the others are Ascent of the Blessed, Terrestrial Paradise and Fall of the Damned. In this panel it shows the punishment of the wicked with diverse kinds of torture laid out by demons.  ...more
    • Artist: Hieronymus Bosch
    • Art Form: Painting
    Is this Goth?
  • 2

    'Death on a Pale Horse' By Hamilton Mortimer, c. 1775

    Photo: Hamilton Mortimer/Yale Center For British Art / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
      Is this Goth?
    • 3

      'The Bat-Woman' By Albert Joseph Pénot, c. 1890

      Photo: Albert Joseph Pénot / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
        Is this Goth?
      • 4

        'The Nightmare' By Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1781 

        Photo: Johann Heinrich Füssli / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
        The Nightmare is a 1781 oil painting by Anglo- Swiss artist Henry Fuseli. Since its creation, it has remained Fuseli's best-known work. With its first exhibition in 1782 at the Royal Academy of London, the image became famous; an engraved version was widely distributed and the painting was parodied in political satire. Due to its fame, Fuseli painted at least three other versions of the painting. Interpretations of The Nightmare have varied widely. The canvas seems to portray simultaneously a dreaming woman and the content of her nightmare. The incubus and the horse's head refer to contemporary belief and folklore about nightmares, but have been ascribed more specific meanings by some  ...more
        • Artist: Henry Fuseli
        • Art Form: Painting
        • Period / Movement: Romanticism
        Is this Goth?