The Haunted Artwork of Zdzisław Beksiński

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The Haunted Artwork of Zdzisław Beksiński


Zdzisław Beksiński’s artwork is hauntingly beautiful.

The late Beksiński was a Polish artist that was most famous for his abstract and surreal paintings which seem to come straight from nightmares. His primary success came in the late 1960s and continued into the 1980s where his popularity grew in Poland and spread abroad. Within this 20 year span, Beksiński created his most famous work.  He named the art that he created during this period the ‘fantastic’ series.  He continually pushed the boundaries and created hellish scenery and disturbing figures. His reputation took hold and he became a household name and a leading contemporary artist.  His gothic style and disturbing themes captivated and intrigued his audiences.

Disturbing, sinister, and intriguing.

Beksiński’s paintings gave viewers a sense of despair and terror. At the same time, they were both visually appealing and beautiful in a morbid sense. He refused to give personal  interpretations  to his work; he purposely left his paintings unnamed to prevent any insinuations.  He disliked when people tried to label his work and admitted that even he was unsure of the meaning behind his art. He paid little attention to current cultural trends, seldom visiting other museums or art exhibits. Some describe his art as spectacular to see, but emotionally draining to look at.


A great person, a tragic end.

Although Beksiński’s work was gloomy, his personality was upbeat. He enjoyed conversations with others and was described as being funny and pleasant. Unfortunately, it seems he was destined to suffer. The last 10 years of his life became almost as ominous as his art. Beksiński’s wife died of cancer in 1998 after her long struggle.  Only a year later, Beksiński found his son’s lifeless body on Christmas Eve. He had committed suicide.  Beksiński met his own tragic fate in 2005. The 19-year-old son of his caretaker stabbed Beksiński 17 times over a small money dispute. His progressively disturbing art was a portrayal of the tragic events which consumed the latter part of his life.

Terror through the lens.

Beksiński started his artistic career as a photographer, often depicting sadomasochistic and surrealistic themes. He grew dissatisfied with photography because he was unable to convey his nightmare-like obsessions on film.  He ultimately decided that painting and drawing would be the best medium to bring his inspirations to life.  Painting allowed more freedom and the ability to create exactly what his imagination envisioned. In the 90’s Beksiński started using the computer and experimented with graphic art.  Ultimately  his career came full circle as he returned to photography. He was then able to edit his digital images and add supernatural effects in ways he wasn’t able to with film.


Thoroughly creeped out yet?

To delve further into Beksińskii’s life , “The Last Family (Ostatnia Rodzina)” is a 2016 movie that chronicles Beksinki’s life as he struggles with the declining  health of his beloved wife and his impulsive son. His artwork is displayed in the Beksiński Musem in Sanok, Poland. Explore the haunted soul of an artist who captured apocalyptic scenery straight from hell.




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