CLOSE

13 Disturbing Works of Art by Female Artists

After we posted 13 Disturbing Pieces of Art from History, several readers pointed out that none of the works were created by female artists. So, here are 13 more disturbing pieces of art, and they’re all created by women.

1. Artemesia Gentileschi - Judith and her Maidservant

The most remarked-upon absence from the previous list was Artemesia Gentileschi’s version of Judith Slaying Holofernes (as opposed to the Caravaggio, Judith Beheading Holofernes, that we featured). Feel free to click on each and decide which you prefer! In the meantime, this is an equally disturbing follow-up piece to Gentileschi’s depiction, showing Judith and her maid’s escape from Holofernes’ quarters with his severed, bleeding head in a basket.

2. Frida Kahlo - Without Hope

One of the greatest painters of the 20th century, Mexico’s own Frida Kahlo is most notable for her self-portraits. This 1945 piece, Without Hope, is no exception. Frequently ill from surgeries and bouts of pain stemming from a bus accident in her teens, Kahlo was no stranger to hospitals. Microorganisms color her bedsheet, her world is featureless, simultaneous day and night, and her easel is overtaken by disturbing apparitions.

3. Lavinia Fontana - Portrait of Antonietta Gonzalez

This particular painting is not so much creepy as it is bizarre. It seems almost like a strange joke played by artist Lavinia Fontana on an unsuspecting portrait model. It is a real portrait of a real girl, however. Antonietta Gonzalez was the daughter of Petrus Gonzales, and both (as well as Antonietta's siblings) suffered from hypertrichosis, commonly known as “werewolf syndrome.” Happily, instead of being ostracized, they were all welcomed into the court of King Henry II of France, highly educated, and well-respected.

4. Rosa Bonheur - The Duel

Rosa Bonheur was one of the great painters of the French animalier style popular in the 19th century. It focused on doing one thing and doing it well: creating realistic paintings of animals. Bonheur, in particular, specialized in farm animals, and this piece shows the dark side of that world. Most interesting is its title, The Duel, evoking the traditional duels high-class males fought for women’s affections throughout history.

5. Paula Rego - War

A far more modern piece than previous entries on the list, this painting was only created just under a decade ago, in 2003. Paula Rego, the artist, says that she was inspired by a photograph taken during the second Iraqi war. While a photograph of this sort might be a common sight in the news, replacing the victims with rabbits, a symbol of purity, gives the work a deeply disturbing angle.

6. Herrad of Landsberg - Hell, from Hortus deliciarum

The oldest artist on this list, Herrad of Landsberg was a 12th century nun famous for her illuminated manuscript, Hortus deliciarum (Garden of Delights). Considered by many scholars to be the first encyclopedia written by a woman, it contains illustrated guides to instruct novice nuns about various teachings and philosophies that the convent followed. This particularly dark illustration is, obviously, from the entry on Hell. (Larger version)

7. Josefa de Obidos - The Sacrificial Lamb

This painting, one of the still-life pieces for which Josefa de Obidos is most renowned, may not appear all that creepy upon initial inspection. Make sure you notice the lamb’s bound feet and despondent expression, however. Those details, combined with the title, The Sacrificial Lamb, tell a very disturbing story about this lamb (traditionally symbolic of innocence) and its future.

8. Giulia Lama - The Martyrdom of Saint Eurosia

Historical accounts of beheadings, if you haven’t gathered, were very popular subjects for a great number of artists. Instead of Judith and Holofernes this time (though Giulia Lama did one of those as well, albeit much less gruesome than others), we have the decapitation of Saint Eurosia, patron saint of the city of Jaca, Spain. According to tradition, she was a princess forced into a marriage with a prince of the invading Moors. When she attempted to flee, the Moorish people hunted her down and executed her.

9. Camille Claudel - Clotho

This sculpture, Clotho, is named after one of the three fates in Greek mythology. Clotho and her sisters, Lachesis and Atropos, determined the length and nature of a human’s life. Reportedly, this work was the result of Camille Claudel and her mentor, the famous sculptor Rodin, deciding to create works based on the forms of elderly women. Another version of the piece, made solely of the torso part of the overall work, is just as ghoulish on its own.

10. Evelyn De Morgan - The Field of the Slain

Although this might look like something painted during the days of the Renaissance, it was actually created in 1916 as a response to the first World War. Its artist, Evelyn De Morgan, was a follower of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, which attempted to revive the style of the early Italian masters. A Spiritualist, and thus a firm believer in the afterlife, De Morgan made this representation of the Angel of Death collecting souls to take to the other side.

11. Kathe Kollwitz - The Last Thing

This is another response to World War I, albeit from a far different perspective. After the end of the Great War, Germany experienced huge economic difficulties. Artist Kathe Kollwitz, a German native, saw the desperation and hopelessness prevalent in her fellow Germans. This woodcut, titled The Last Thing, is a grim depiction of what many elderly Germans saw as their only escape.

12. Maruja Mallo - Antro de Fosiles

The third and final war-inspired piece on this list, Antro de Fosiles was actually considered lost for decades before it reappeared in 2010 and was purchased by the Guillermo de Osma Gallery in Madrid, Spain. Artist Maruja Mallo, a friend of Salvador Dali, was also horrified by war-torn Europe, but despite this painting’s appearance, it is not a statement about the use of atomic weapons. It was actually created in 1930, 15 years before their first use.

13. Remedios Varo - Fenomeno

One of only a few female surrealist painters, Remedios Varo’s works are particularly dark and dreamlike. A penchant toward mysticism and fringe psychology in her personal life deeply influenced her works, which typically feature unusual geometric shapes, strange symbols, and beings that seem to be cobbled together from various objects and animals.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
arrow
Lists
25 Royals in the Line of Succession to the British Throne
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

Between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcoming their third child on April 23, 2018 and Prince Harry's upcoming marriage to Suits star Meghan Markle in May, the line of succession to the British throne has become a topic of interest all over the world. And the truth is, it’s complicated. Though Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 92 years old on April 21, shows no signs of slowing down, here are the royals who could one day take her place on the throne—in one very specific order.

1. PRINCE CHARLES

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

As a direct result of his mother being the world's longest-reigning monarch, Prince Charles—the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip—is the longest serving heir to the throne; he became heir apparent in 1952, when his mother ascended to the throne.

2. PRINCE WILLIAM

Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images

At 35 years old, odds are good that Prince William, Duke of Cambridge—the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana—will ascend to the throne at some point in his lifetime.

3. PRINCE GEORGE 

RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images

On July 22, 2013, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their first child, Prince George of Cambridge, who jumped the line to step ahead of his uncle, Prince Harry, to become third in the line of succession.

4. PRINCESS CHARLOTTE 

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

On May 2, 2015, William and Catherine added another member to their growing brood: a daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. Though her parents just welcomed a bouncing baby boy, she will maintain the fourth-in-line position because of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which went into effect just a few weeks before her arrival, and removed a long-held rule which stated that any male sibling (regardless of birth order) would automatically move ahead of her.

5. PRINCE OF CAMBRIDGE

 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England
Chris Jackson, Getty Images

On April 23, 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their third child—a son, whose name has yet to be announced, but who has already pushed his uncle, Prince Harry, out of the fifth position in line to the throne.

6. PRINCE HARRY

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

As the second-born son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Prince Harry's place in the line is a regularly changing one. It changed earlier this week, when his brother William's third child arrived, and could change again if and when their family expands.

7. PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Prince Andrew is a perfect example of life before the Succession to the Crown Act 2013: Though he’s the second-born son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, he’s actually their third child (Princess Anne came between him and Prince Charles). But because the rules gave preference to males, Prince Andrew would inherit the throne before his older sister.

8. PRINCESS BEATRICE OF YORK

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WE

Because Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, had two daughters and no sons, none of that male-preference primogeniture stuff mattered in terms of their placement. But with each child her cousin Prince William has, Princess Beatrice moves farther away from the throne. If Beatrice looks familiar, it might be because of the headlines she made with the Dr. Seuss-like hat she wore to William and Catherine’s wedding. (The infamous topper later sold on eBay for more than $130,000, all of which went to charity.)

9. PRINCESS EUGENIE OF YORK

Princess Eugenie of York arrives in the parade ring during Royal Ascot 2017 at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2017 in Ascot, England
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Though she’s regularly seen at royal events, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s youngest daughter spends the bulk of her time indulging her interest in fine art. She has held several jobs in the art world, and is currently a director at Hauser & Wirth’s London gallery.

10. PRINCE EDWARD, EARL OF WESSEX

 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex leaves after a visit to Prince Philip
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Like his older brother Andrew, Prince Edward—the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip—jumps the line ahead of his older sister, Princess Anne, because of the older rule that put males ahead of females.

11. JAMES, VISCOUNT SEVERN

 James, Viscount Severn, rides on the fun fair carousel on day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 11, 2013 in Windsor, England
Danny E. Martindale/Getty Images

James, Viscount Severn—the younger of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s two children, and their only son—turned 10 years old on December 17, 2017, and celebrated it as the 10th royal in line of succession. (The birth of the youngest Prince of Cambridge pushed him back a spot.)

12. LADY LOUISE MOUNTBATTEN-WINDSOR

Lady Louise Windsor during the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2013 in London, England.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Because the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 wasn’t enacted until 2015, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor—the older of Prince Edward’s two children—will always be just behind her brother in the line of succession.

13. PRINCESS ANNE, THE PRINCESS ROYAL

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, visits the Hambleton Equine Clinic on October 10, 2017 in Stokesley, England
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Princess Anne, the Queen and Prince Philip’s second-born child and only daughter, may never rule over the throne in her lifetime, but at least she gets to be called “The Princess Royal.”

14. PETER PHILLIPS

Peter Phillips poses for a photo on The Mall
John Nguyen - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The eldest child and only son of Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, stands just behind his mother in line. Interesting fact: Had Phillips’s wife, Autumn Kelly, not converted from Roman Catholicism to the Church of England before their marriage in 2008, Phillips would have lost his place in line.

15. SAVANNAH PHILLIPS

Savannah Phillips attends a Christmas Day church service
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

On December 29, 2010, Peter and Autumn Phillips celebrated the birth of their first child, Savannah Anne Kathleen Phillips, who is also the Queen’s first great-grandchild. She’s currently 15th in line.

16. ISLA PHILLIPS

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Isla Phillips and Peter Phillips attend a Christmas Day church service
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Less than two years after Savannah, Peter and Autumn Phillips had a second daughter, Isla, who stands just behind her sister in line. It wasn’t until 2017 that Savannah and Isla made their Buckingham Palace balcony debut (in honor of their great-grandmother’s 91st birthday).

17. ZARA TINDALL

 Zara Tindall arrives for a reception at the Guildhall
Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Not one to hide in the background, Zara Tindall—Princess Anne’s second child and only daughter—has lived much of her life in the spotlight. A celebrated equestrian, she won the Eventing World Championship in Aachen in 2006 and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year the same year (her mom earned the same title in 1971). She’s also Prince George’s godmother.

18. MIA TINDALL

Mike Tindall, Zara Tindall and their daughter Mia Tindall pose for a photograph during day three of The Big Feastival at Alex James' Farm on August 28, 2016 in Kingham, Oxfordshire.
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Zara Tindall’s daughter Mia may just be 4 years old, but she’s already regularly making headlines for her outgoing personality. And though she’s only 18th in line to the throne, her connection to the tippity top of the royal family is much closer: Prince William is her godfather.

19. DAVID ARMSTRONG-JONES, 2ND EARL OF SNOWDON

David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon
HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images

David Armstrong-Jones, the eldest child of Princess Margaret, isn’t waiting around to see if the British crown ever lands on his head. The 56-year-old, who goes by David Linley in his professional life, has made a name for himself as a talented furniture-maker. His bespoke pieces, sold under the brand name Linley, can be purchased through his own boutiques as well as at Harrods.

20. CHARLES ARMSTRONG-JONES, VISCOUNT LINLEY

Margarita Armstrong-Jones and Charles Patrick Inigo Armstrong-Jones
Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images

David Armstrong-Jones’s only son, Charles, may be 20th in line to the throne, but the 18-year-old is the heir apparent to the Earldom of Snowdon.

21. LADY MARGARITA ARMSTRONG-JONES

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) talks with Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones (C) as her father David Armstrong-Jones (L), 2nd Earl of Snowdon, known as David Linley
HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images

Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the youngest child of David Armstrong-Jones and his only daughter, is also the only granddaughter of Princess Margaret. Now 15 years old (she'll turn 16 in June), Lady Margarita made headlines around the world in 2011 when she served as a flower girl at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

22. LADY SARAH CHATTO

Lady Sarah Chatto, the daughter of Princess Margaret arrives for her mother's memorial service
STEPHEN HIRD/AFP/Getty Images

Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones’s only daughter, is the youngest grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In addition to serving as a bridesmaid to Princess Diana, she is Prince Harry’s godmother.

23. SAMUEL CHATTO

Lady Sarah Chatto (L) and her son Samuel Chatto (R) leave a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Lord Snowdon at Westminster Abbey on April 7, 2017 in London, United Kingdom
Justin Tallis - WPA Pool /Getty Images

The first-born son of Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband, Daniel, has a long way to go to reach the throne: He’s currently 23rd in line.

24. ARTHUR CHATTO

Arthur Edwards, WPA Pool/Getty Images

For better or worse, Sarah and Daniel Chatto’s youngest son Arthur has become a bit of a social media sensation. He's made headlines recently as he regularly posts selfies to Instagram—some of them on the eyebrow-raising side, at least as far as royals go.

25. PRINCE RICHARD, DUKE OF GLOUCESTER

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester makes a speech during the unveiling ceremony of London's first public memorial to the Korean War on December 3, 2014 in London, England
Carl Court/Getty Images

At 73 years old, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. Formerly, he made a living as an architect, until the 1972 death of his brother, Prince William of Gloucester, put him next in line to inherit his father’s dukedom. On June 10, 1974, he officially succeeded his father as Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Animals
20 Black-and-White Facts About Penguins
iStock
iStock

To celebrate World Penguin Day (which is today, April 25), here are a few fun facts about these adorable tuxedoed birds.

1. All 17 species of penguins are found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.

2. Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing nearly 4 feet tall. The smallest is the Little Blue Penguin, which is only about 16 inches.

emperor penguin
iStock

3. The fastest species is the Gentoo Penguin, which can reach swimming speeds up to 22 mph.

Gentoo Penguin
iStock

4. A penguin's striking coloring is a matter of camouflage; from above, its black back blends into the murky depths of the ocean. From below, its white belly is hidden against the bright surface.

penguins swimming in the ocean
iStock

5. Fossils place the earliest penguin relative at some 60 million years ago, meaning an ancestor of the birds we see today survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

emperor penguins
iStock

6. Penguins ingest a lot of seawater while hunting for fish, but a special gland behind their eyes—the supraorbital gland—filters out the saltwater from their blood stream. Penguins excrete it through their beaks, or by sneezing.

penguins swimming in the ocean
iStock

7. Unlike most birds—which lose and replace a few feathers at a time—penguins molt all at once, spending two or three weeks land-bound as they undergo what is called the catastrophic molt.

molting penguin
iStock

8. All but two species of penguins breed in large colonies of up to a thousand birds.

king penguins
iStock

9. It varies by species, but many penguins will mate with the same member of the opposite sex season after season.

chinstrap penguins
iStock

10. Similarly, most species are also loyal to their exact nesting site, often returning to the same rookery in which they were born.

maegellic penguin nesting
iStock

11. Some species create nests for their eggs out of pebbles and loose feathers. Emperor Penguins are an exception: They incubate a single egg each breeding season on the top of their feet. Under a loose fold of skin is a featherless area with a concentration of blood vessels that keeps the egg warm.

penguin eggs
iStock

12. In some species, it is the male penguin which incubates the eggs while females leave to hunt for weeks at a time. Because of this, pudgy males—with enough fat storage to survive weeks without eating—are most desirable.

emperor penguins
iStock

13. Penguin parents—both male and female—care for their young for several months until the chicks are strong enough to hunt for food on their own.

Penguins nest
iStock

14. If a female Emperor Penguin's baby dies, she will often "kidnap" an unrelated chick.

penguin chicks
iStock

15. Despite their lack of visible ears, penguins have excellent hearing and rely on distinct calls to identify their mates when returning to the crowded breeding grounds.

16. The first published account of penguins comes from Antonio Pigafetta, who was aboard Ferdinand Magellan's first circumnavigation of the globe in 1520. They spotted the animals near what was probably Punta Tombo in Argentina. (He called them "strange geese.")

17. An earlier, anonymous diary entry from Vasco da Gama's 1497 voyage around the Cape of Good Hope makes mention of flightless birds as large as ducks.

18. Because they aren't used to danger from animals on solid ground, wild penguins exhibit no particular fear of human tourists.

19. Unlike most sea mammals—which rely on blubber to stay warm—penguins survive because their feathers trap a layer of warm air next to the skin that serves as insulation, especially when they start generating muscular heat by swimming around.

20. In the 16th century, the word penguin actually referred to great auks (scientific name: Pinguinus impennis), a now-extinct species that inhabited the seas around eastern Canada. When explorers traveled to the Southern Hemisphere, they saw black and white birds that resembled auks, and called them penguins.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios