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Dabbler

Angarola of Chicago

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Dabbler

Anthony Angarola is alluded to in ''Pickman's Model'' and ''The Call of Cthulhu''. I have found seven of his illustrations:

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/57440551@N03/15863152815/in/photostream/

 

The same warning accompanies Angarola's work as does that of Sidney Syme -- certain pieces are obscene. There is, however, a grotesque quality about Angarola's nudes that suggests, in addition to the lamentable indecency, an impression and more than an impression of the twisted prancing and bellowing of the maddened cultists of Khlul-hloo or a Bacchic frenzy.

 

If the reader is strong enough and academic enough to regard them in that  light it is very clear why Lovecraft wrote ''On this now leaped and twisted a more indescribable horde of human abnormality than any but a Sime or an Angarola could paint.''

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yronimoswhateley

What a great idea!

 

I touched on some of the artwork in relation to "The Great Ghoul Thread" discussion of a couple years ago as illustrations of what Lovecraft would have had in mind when describing his ghouls, but never thought of starting threads dedicated to each artist, with a more in-depth exploration of each.  I included examples from Sime, Goya, and Fuselli, but never was able to quite get what Lovecraft saw in Angarola (though the examples you found might help make that connection).  Another artist Lovecraft admired and clearly drew inspiration from was Nicholas Roerich - I for one would welcome any discussions you want add to your series on the influences of Roerich and Goya over Lovecraft!

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Dabbler

I believe that Angarola's appeal lies chiefly in the semi-ecstatic distortion of his figures, which approach the unnatural -- the distorted sickening fungal foliage, the grotesque apparent scenery that turns out to be more malformed nudes, the contorted faces, the odd and frequently maddening geometry of his pictures (as e.g. http://www.cthulhuco...ngarolaevil.gif ).

 

If anything I think the ghoul as theriocephalic or specifically cynocephalic is an exaggeration -- the Ghoul is said to be ''of vaguely canine cast''. The last extreme of degeration need not be fully cynocephalic and the lesser stages should certainly not be. I imagine the Ghouls as degenerate but evidently derived from  men, rather than dog-creatures -- Lovecraft's illustration suggests a degenerate human, certainly of canine cast, but not a full cynocephalus. There must be enough of the degenerate man left for the horror to take hold -- a savage animal is not especially frightening, I can go to the zoo and see two dozen -- but a ruined bestial thing that is yet mostly man is hideous.

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