Favorite mind bending illustrators and painters

2021-02-10 @Arts

Here I present a selection of striking illustrators, engravers and painters that consistently steal my attention.

All links point to the respective Wikiart galleries.

Gustave Dore

19th-century French engraver and illustrator, having produced an insurmountable quantity of sketches during his lifetime. I refuse to even quote the number as it doesn’t sound plausible in my attempts to reason.

Among other works, he produced (mostly black and white) sketches for both testaments of the Bible, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Crusades, Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, Don Quixote and other classic tales. Many of the sketches have actually inspired me to read the respective works or at least explore the corresponding themes.

Aubrey Beardsley

A 19th-century British illustrator of the Art Noveau movement and one of the leading figures of the particular style, produced black ink drawings covering, among an expansive array of themes, Arthurian legends, Siegfried, Pope’s Rape of the Lock and the Greek tragedies. What especially stands out is the apparent, almost innocent simplicity, fused with much eroticism and grotesqueness.

See here many of the examples.

To the same school of illustrations belong the early works of John Austen (see the spectacular Hamlet illustrations), as well as Harry Clarke’s works of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and other fables.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi

An 18th-century Italian artist of the Baroque movement, Piranesi is famous for the richly atmospheric etchings of Ancient Rome, Gothic interiors (and exteriors), antique or crumbling structures, cityscapes and even still life. Upon reflection, I can’t recall having been this drawn to still life elsewhere.

I lose myself in the vastness of Piranesi’s settings. In fact, if not for the eye stress, I’d hardly know to look away.


M.C. Escher

A 20th-century Dutch Surrealist/Illustrator of mathematically inspired and medievally styled constructions that you’ve probably seen. I refer to the paradoxes, the infinite staircases, the illusions, the perspective trickery and such abstract visuals.

See here many of the famous works.

Giorgio de Chirico

A 20th-century Italian Surrealism and Metaphysical painter. Founder of the Metaphysical art movement. As with most paintings of the respective genres, I’ve not the power of words for further discourse. I find best to explore them on your own and let your emotions and subconscious conduct the labor.

The allegorical paintings more capture my interest.

Questions, comments? Connect.