Surfing for Horrors

The Internet: Your source for classic, freaky works of art.

I just can’t imagine what life was like before the Internet.

Sunday night I was watching “The Simpsons” (as is my habit), and the episode happened to include a scene in Mr. Burns’ office. On his wall was a horrifying painting depicting the cruel yellow billionaire as a large, lanky creature biting the head off of a smaller humanoid figure. I was certain that I’d seen the work of art that was being referenced — but I couldn’t quite place it.

I asked my father, who’s an art teacher, but he also drew a blank. I guessed that it might have been Hieronymus Bosch, and he thought that sounded right. But I knew that it would eat away at me if I didn’t find out for sure.

So I did a Google image search for Bosch paintings. After I skimmed over a few pages of results and came up empty, I decided to go broader and search for “disturbing paintings.” The second link took me to “The 10 Scariest Paintings in Art History,” and guess what was number one? My mystery monstrosity was “Saturn Devouring His Sons,” by Francisco Goya.

Now I can sleep easy — provided that I can get the image of that painting out of my head.

Article © 2010 by Kevin Brotzman