STUCK, Franz von
(b. 1863, Tettenweis, d. 1928, Tetschen)


Oil on canvas, 129 x 210 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This painting's title refers to Dante Alighieri's medieval epic of a journey through hell. Although Stuck employed traditional symbols of the underworld - a snake, a demon, and a flaming pit - the dissonant colours and stylized, exaggerated poses are strikingly modern. He designed the complementary frame. Stuck's imagery was likely inspired by Auguste Rodin's The Gates of Hell, particularly the figure of The Thinker. When Inferno debuted in an exhibition of contemporary German art at The Met in 1909, critics praised its "sovereign brutality." The picture bolstered Stuck's reputation as a visionary artist unafraid to explore the dark side of the psyche.

Eight sketches of single figures for Inferno are documented. They are done in a variety of media and apparently all drawn from live models.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.