The Nightmare

The Nightmare

Gabriel Picart, Spain

Oil on canvas, 180 x 270 cm


An ancient tale says that a Chinese Ink Master from Wuhan painted the mountainous countryside of Hubei, and he depicted the mouth of a cave home of the horseshoe bat.

He used a secret formula to paint an everlasting screen that resulted in ink that didn’t fade over time. Unfortunately, it is also impossible to wipe off. The table with the painting tools fell, and the ink started spreading everywhere, staining everybody with no end…
In 1781, Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli painted “The Nightmare.” Since it was first exhibited to the public, it has been a universal horror icon. The word ‘nightmare’ is derived from ‘mara,’ a Scandinavian term referring to a spirit sent to suffocate sleepers by crouching on their chests. Chest pressure and difficulty breathing are typical Covid-19 symptoms.
An ongoing work in progress, Gabriel revisited Fuseli’s work to make an allegory of the nightmare that the Covid-19 pandemic has ultimately become.