10 Most Disturbing Pieces of Art

Should all art be pleasant to look at?

Great art has the potential to inspire all sorts of emotions. The following disturbing pieces of art happen to bring out feelings of dread, horror and complete hopelessness. So why not spare a few minutes as we take a look at the 10 most disturbing pieces of art.



10. Francisco Goya – Saturn Devouring His Son

Saturn Devouring his son is one of the most disturbing pieces of art.

This piece by Spanish artist Francisco Goya depicts the Greek myth of the Titan Cronus who, fearing being overthrown, promptly devoured each of his children at birth.

Look at that expression. It’s like ‘Why am I doing this? Nom nom nom, it’s just so tasty’. Coincidently that’s the same face everyone pulls when they eat McDonald’s.

9. Patricia Piccinini – Undivided

Partricia Paccinini's Undivided one of the most disturbing pieces of art
Patricia Paccinini

Piccinini is an Australian artist who works with a variety of media, particularly sculpture. Her work aims to address concerns about biotechnology and mapping the human genome. Her sculptures often depict bizarre creatures with oddly human features.  This piece, titled Undivided showcases a humanoid creature with a bladed carapace. It instils a real sense of unease as it clutches to a young human child. You can see there are other creatures emerging from the back of the first creature. There’s just something so unwholesome about this image.

8. Caravaggio – Judith Beheading Holofernes

Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes is one of the most disturbing pieces of art.

This gruesome painting by Caravaggio painted in 1598 depicts Judith seducing and decapitating the Assyrian general Holofernes. The attention to detail heightens the horror of the piece. And just look at that creepy old lady, ‘Good thing I broughts me noggin sack’.

7. Theodore Gericault – Anatomical Pieces & Heads Severed

Gericault anatomical studies are among the most disturbing pieces of art

This is a series of very macabre paintings by French painter Theodore Gericault. During the early 1800’s, Gericault began preparatory work for one of his most famous works Raft of the Medusa by borrowing severed body parts from the Paris morgue. He would paint the pieces in disjointed positions then stash them under his bed or on the roof of his apartment so as to render varying degrees of decaying flesh for his paintings – he wanted to achieve different colours and textures.

6. Gerard David – The Judgement of Cambyses

Gerard David's The Judgement of Cambyses is among the most disturbing pieces of art.

At first glance this painting, depicting the arrest of corrupt Persian judge Sisamnes, seems rather harmless until you notice… Oh dear god what are they doing to his leg?


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