Painters have long been some of the most well-respected and venerated members of our society. As with all types of art, painting is supposed to make us stop and think and to give us a window into our own humanity. In this list of the most terrifying paintings you can imagine, the artists have completely disregarded delicate human sensibilities and have painted pieces with unsettling and often gruesome aspects to them. Whether it be countless images of the devil or his demons feasting on tormented and damned humans souls or images which show the gripping horrors and permanence of war, the paintings in this list are not for the faint of heart. From an English artist depicting the horrors of slavery to an edgy modern-day painter illustrating various post-apocalyptic scenarios, the artists herein run the gamut of different styles and time periods but share their desire to shock the viewer and generate public discussion from the image. From just plain weird to completely shocking and demented, see if you can make it through this entire list of 25 of the Most Terrifying Paintings You Can Imagine.
Caution: This list contains images some may find to be shocking, unsettling, and disturbing.
"A Puppet for the Niece", by Santiago Caruso
Born in Argentina in 1982, Santiago Caruso is known for his black-and-white symbolic art pieces. His limited color scheme and use of light focuses the eye on his generally macabre themes.
"Dulle Griet", by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Known as Mad Meg, Dulle Griet was a peasant woman who led an all-female army to pillage the underworld in this previously lost painting by Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
"Lucifero", by Francesco Scaramuzza
Francesco Scaramuzza’s painting of Lucifer gives us the creeps, especially due to its slightly hazy appearance and the fact that the devil is chowing down on a human snack. This painting appeared as an illustration in Dante’s Inferno.
"Study of the Heads of Torture Victims", by Théodore Géricault
Théodore Géricault was a post-French Revolution painter using Romantic art to criticize the monarchy and the prevalent rational scientific views of the time. In his painting “Study of the Heads of Torture Victims”, as in others, Géricault used real body parts as his models. The heads’ expressions are said to represent the pessimism of post-revolutionary France.
"Untitled", by Zdzisław Beksiński
The Polish painter Zdzisław Beksiński is known for painting scenes of a post-apocalyptic world in his trademark Gothic style.