Unspeakable Crimes 25 Gruesome Historical Depictions of Torture  

Kellen Perry
84.6k views 25 items

Are you an up-and-coming black metal band looking for free album art? Are you ready to take the next big promotional step after your photoshoot in the woods? Or are you maybe just a curious art aficionado testing the waters of human depravity and historical violence? Either way, you've come to the right place, as a healthy dose of gruesome historical depictions of torture lie ahead. 

For those art aficionados, you'll find all the familiar touchstones to appreciate, with the added bonus of eye gouging, flaying, and heretics burned at the cross. For the metal heads, get a lof of this - the list is full of grotesque torture art that just so happens to be in the public domain. That basically means these nauseating depictions of torture are 100% cool for you to drag into your pirated version of Photoshop and lay a wicked looking free font on top of (perhaps Metal Lord Regular?).

Not only are these disturbing paintings of torture, they’re historical depictions of torture, which adds a much-needed layer of sophistication to your Bandcamp page. Or, if you're just here for the art, you'll have some thoroughly scandalous things to talk about over olives and wine at your next cocktail hour. Interrupt that sanctimonious associate professor rambling on about Jonathan Franzen with your newfound knowledge of the myriad ways people have been sliced and diced throughout history. 

The Judgment of Cambyses - Gerard David, 1498, Netherlands

The Judgment of Cambyses - Ger... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 25 Gruesome Historical Depictions of Torture
Photo: Gerard David/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew - Mattia Preti, 1660, Italy

The Martyrdom of St. Bartholom... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 25 Gruesome Historical Depictions of Torture
Photo: Mattia Preti/via Wikimedia/Public Domain

Codex Balduini Trevirensis - Artist Unknown, 14th Century, Germany

Codex Balduini Trevirensis - A... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 25 Gruesome Historical Depictions of Torture
Photo: Unknown/via Wikimedia/Public Domain

Folter mit Hunden - Artist Unknown, 1548, Germany

Folter mit Hunden - Artist Unk... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 25 Gruesome Historical Depictions of Torture
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain