Inferno

Located in gallery 800, this oil on canvass painting is conveniently directly opposite “The Thinker”. Oil on canvas.

Year: 1903

This painting’s title refers to Dante Alighieri’s medieval epic narrating a journey through Hell, but the imagery is idiosyncratic. Stuck conveyed the anguish of damnation through traditional symbols—a snake, demon, and flaming pit—and through exaggerated, agonized poses, a compressed pictorial space, and dissonant colors. He designed the complementary frame. When Inferno debuted in an exhibition of contemporary German art at The Met in 1909, critics praised its “sovereign brutality” and “sombre and unique splendor.” The picture bolstered Stuck’s reputation as one of the era’s most important German artists, boldly exploring the dark side of the psyche.

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