Early Modern Horror

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Students from the Art History department at University College London visit the Wellcome Library for an MA course on “Early Modern Horror“. It is taught by Dr Maria H. Loh (far left), and looks with critical attention at sixteenth- and seventeenth-century representations of horror: works specifically designed to elicit fright, confusion, terror, pity, and/or pain from the spectator.


As well as considering anatomical prints using vanitas motifs, and anatomical figures in the form of the Farnese Hercules and Laocoon, the students had a chance to consider and comment on this recently conserved painting of a head composed of writhing écorché figures, composed in the manner of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (right: Wellcome Library no. 44576i).

Classes, seminars and tours with expert interpretation can be provided at the Wellcome Library for undergraduate and graduate courses, extramural and diploma courses, and special interest groups. Recent visiting groups have come from King’s College London, University of Kent at Canterbury, Institute of Historical Research, University of Wisconsin-Stout, University of Aberystwyth, Christie’s Education, and Birkbeck University of London. To arrange a visit, please email:

Author: William Schupbach

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