Throughout history, artists have used paintings, drawings, sculptures, and related mediums to depict the human experience. While at times these artworks can reflect themes of love, family, nature, and religion, there are also darker realms to the human condition. Although the idea of landscapes may be more familiar to those in the non-art world, depictions of "hellscapes" have been just as prominent.
Artists portraying scenes of death and brutality are not necessarily demonic or macabre individuals, as such presentations of pain and suffering align with our history's truth. In a sense, these graphic scenes tell a larger tale, one that contexualizes the evolution of both humanity and society as a whole. Historical illustrations and paintings of torture may be considered taboo, but these artistic truths offer audiences the opportunity to broach controversial topics.
The Judgment of Cambyses - Gerard David, 1498, Netherlands
The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew - Mattia Preti, 1660, Italy
Codex Balduini Trevirensis - Artist Unknown, 14th Century, Germany
Folter mit Hunden - Artist Unknown, 1548, Germany