London

Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare, 1781, oil on canvas, 40 1/4 x 50". From “Gothic Nightmares.”

Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare, 1781, oil on canvas, 40 1/4 x 50". From “Gothic Nightmares.”

London

“Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic Imagination”

Tate Britain
Millbank
February 15–May 1, 2006

Curated by Martin Myrone

This show promises to be an educational Halloween party. With 160 works, it explores the demons, witches, and elves imagined by two dozen high-minded British visionaries and considers such popular entertainments as “Phantasmagoria,” which offered nineteenth-century Londoners a preview of the modern horror film, complete with grisly slide shows and creepy sounds. This rich territory was a core ingredient in the Romantic imagination, which, from the 1760s on, expanded into an ever-more irrational world. Here, the focus is on the odd couple of Swiss-born Henry Fuseli, with his crowd-pleasing Nightmare, 1781, and William Blake, whose depictions of monsters and phantoms were inspired by the loftiest pages of the Bible and Dante.