No Place Like Home: The Fusion of Art and Interior Design

by Aileen Mitchell 19. November 2014 15:27

Artwork in the home is more than simply hanging up a picture. A good piece of art can create a tone, set the mood, evoke emotions, or add emphasis to a particular space. Equally, it can be the spark which lights the flame of a room's design or become the piece de resistance, which gives it that final flourish.

Image by Wonderlane

In recent years, wall art has become increasingly popular, and more and more people have opted to buy artwork as an aesthetic enhancement or sound investment (or both) for their homes.

In particular, canvas art has become the artwork of choice for both new and veteran collectors, and although some of them can be quite pricey, a sizeable portion of them are more than affordable. This is primarily a direct result of using print, which cuts down on the initial cost.

It can often be tricky to find a piece of art which compliments the ambience and feel of the room - but there are a few simple things you can do to help you get the balance just right.

Colour Scheme Match

To be able to pick out artwork that will work in a particular room, you have to know what the colour scheme is. Generally, it's a good idea to pick an artwork that that enhances and compliments the colour scheme of the room, without being too overpowering or detracting from it.

If you opt for an interior design which is full of neutral colours and sleek lines, artwork that adds a vibrant splash of colour would be a great choice. Alternatively, if you've gone for a room that's filled with colour, then a contrasting art piece, which has very little colour will complement the design of the room.

Another good idea is to take samples of the colours in your room, so you can mix and match them against specific art pieces, giving you the opportunity to find a good match.

Match Artwork

Turning our attention to the specific piece of art, it's important to point out that there's a huge range of styles to choose from - abstract, landscapes, flowers, portraits and many more. It's therefore important to ensure the theme of the picture doesn't clash with the theme of your room.

An oriental floral canvas won't work in combination with a nautical-themed room, any more than a lighthouse landscape will work with a room decorated with an Asian ambience.

Bottom line is, if it doesn't match the interior design of the room, you shouldn't buy it.

Match the Wall

The most important aspect of choosing your artwork is knowing where you're going to hang it - so measure the exact dimensions of the space.You need to choose a canvas which matches the size of the wall, as one of the biggest mistakes is buying artwork that's either too big or too small for the room. Too big is just overpowering for the space, too small just leaves it lost in a sea of space.

Choosing the Style

The style you choose will depend on three key things: the room itself, the design and your personal preference. You should have a good idea of what you're looking for before you go perusing the art shops.

For example, a large art piece can make for a big, bold statement in a space with a large open wall, and panelled art - usually of three, although using more can work well too - is particularly good at filling a room and drawing the eye to the artwork.

As with all decisions, when it comes to synchronising art with interior design, you should look at the art and consider the best way to showcase it within the space.

Create Something Yourself

It's also conceivable that, if you can't find something that represents the mood and spirit you're trying to create, you could always create your own piece of art. 

Particularly with canvas art, it can be relatively easy to make something unique and interesting of your own, which further enhances the individuality of the room and puts your own special, artistic stamp on it.

At Art Gallery, we have a huge selection of affordable, original art by a raft of talented British and international artists, showcasing a myriad of styles - many of which will be perfect for your home.


12 of the Most Terrifying Paintings Ever Created

by Aileen Mitchell 13. November 2014 12:46

Generally, when we think of art, we think of picturesque scenes of natural beauty, historic buildings, water lilies and charmingly bucolic scenes.

But some of the best, most interesting and thought-provoking work has been that which plunders the darkest depths of the imagination, those gloomier recesses of the human condition that scare, disturb and downright shock.

It's unlikely you'll want any of these morbidly fascinating masterpieces hanging on your wall, but when it comes to some of the most fantastical depictions of hellish and Gothic grotesquery, this selection is pretty hard to beat.

The Great Red Dragon and the Beast from the Sea - William Blake

Better known for his romantic poetry and engravings, William Blake didn't enjoy much success while he was alive, but has generated fresh enthusiasm after his death.

Rather than being inspired by nature, Blake's artistic creations came from the fecund virility of his imagination.

His series of watercolours inspired by the red dragon from the Book of Revelation is particularly terrifying. This masterpiece depicts the red dragon, an avatar of the Devil, towering over the seven-headed sea beast, in all its garish glory.

Study after Velzques's Portrait of Innocent X – Francis Bacon

Bacon was unquestionably one of the most influential and controversial artists of the 20th century, and his figurative style of painting is stark and bleak. He was also known for casually destroying pieces he wasn't happy with, but now his remaining masterpieces sell for millions.

Throughout his artistic life, he kept returning to the portrait of Pope Innocent X by Velazquez to make variations and interpretations of his own, twisting Valzquez's original portrait of a pensive-looking pope into something much more horrific, with his pope shrieking amidst harsh vertical brushed lines.

Dante and Virgil in Hell – William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Artists have been inspired by the scenes of twisted damnation in Dante's Inferno since it was first published. 

Bouguereau was normally associated with realistic pictures of classical tranquillity, but here he took an unexpected side-step into darker territory – the pits of Hell, to be exact – with his rendering of impersonators biting chunks out of each other to consume their identities. A demon looks on and Dante and Virgil look at the damned.

The Death of Marat – Edvard Munch

Unquestionably Norway's most famous painter, Edvard Munch's most unforgettable contribution to the history of terrifying art is this iconic image, The Scream.

Jean-Paul Marat was one of the most important political figures of the French Revolution, who suffered from a skin disease that left him spending most of his days in the bath writing. He was murdered there by Charlotte Corday and, while his death has been pictorially interpreted many times, Munch's vision is an unremittingly violent and brutal one.  

Heads Severed – Theodore Gericault

The Raft of the Medusa is Gericault's most famous work, but he was determined to break free of the classical style, which was prevalent in his day, and unafraid to tackle emotional and taboo subjects.

The decapitated heads painted here were found by Gericault in hospital dissection labs and morgues. Many artists have painted the dead to better understand the living, but few paintings have depicted such grim morbidities so disturbingly.

The Temptation of St Anthony – Matthias Grunewald

Although he lived during the Renaissance period, Grunewald's paintings of religious themes were crafted in the style of the Middle Ages. St Anthony The Great was believed to have undergone many challenges, which tested his faith while worshipping in the desert.

One legend says that he was murdered by demons living in a cave, only to be reincarnated and destroy them later. This particular painting is from the Isenheim Tryptych, with the bizarre congregation of demons similar in style to the work of Hieronymous Bosch.    

Mask Still Life III – Emil Nolde

Nolde was one of the earliest exponents of Expressionism, even though his talents were overshadowed by the likes of other Expressionist painters such as Munch.

The M.O. of expressionism was to distort reality to the extent that it portrayed a subjective point of view, and Nolde's painting was composed from a study of masks at the Berlin Museum, including a shrunken head.

Nolde was fascinated by other cultures throughout his entire artistic life, and this painting explores this interest in an unsettlingly surreal and macabre way.     

Saturn Devouring His Son – Francis Goya

According to Roman myth, which was heavily based on Greek myth, the father of the Gods consumes his own offspring to ensure that no entity other than him comes into creation – and it's this act of child murder that Goya has so vividly and unsettlingly depicted.

The painting was actually one of several pictures – known as The Black Paintings – which had been painted alongside the wall of a house, and was never actually intended to be viewed by the public.

Several psychoanalytical theories about the grimness of the paintings have been postulated – including it being an interpretation of Goya's own fear of ageing – but, however you interpret it, this is a startling and ghoulish work. 

Judith Beheading Holofernes – Caravaggio

The Old Testament's Book of Judith tells of the daring, eponymous widow and how she saves the Israelites from the attack of an army led by Holofernes. Judith meets him and, through her charm and beauty, wins his heart, gets him drunk, then, with the help of her handmaid, decapitates him.

It's been a favourite story and scene for a multitude of artists, but Caravaggio's visual interpretation is the most undeniably gruesome, with the detached, almost emotionless, expression of Judith herself contrasted with the look of grim determination of her handmaid and the expression of agonised horror on the face of Helofernes himself.   

Electric Chair – Andy Warhol

It's a quietly disturbing image: the 'silence' sign glows in the gloom and the chair awaits the grim demise of its future incumbents, the restraints slack on the ground after the last corpse has been carried away. 

Warhol once remarked that "everything I do is connected with death", and his provocative silkscreen images are certainly representative of that, with his electric chair image accompanying other prints of skulls and car crashes.   

The Nightmare - Henry Fuseli

There's something incontrovertibly creepy about Fuseli's most famous painting – a nightmare that causes nightmares – and a hideous depiction of the worst dream ever committed to canvas.

Even Freud would have had a field day with the image of a sleeping woman in virginal gown, sacrificial style, goaded by a squatting troll, pricked ears casting a shadow on the wall as a wild-eyed stallion looks on.

The horror of nocturnal violation has never been better represented than in Fuseli's visual metaphor for bestiality, rape, murder and voyeurism.

In fact, the piece was so popular that Fuseli even created an equally creepy, alternative version.   

Hell – Hans Memling

A grotesque and hellish hybrid of man, woman, dragon, devil, bird and dog, this malicious manifestation dances malevolently over the damned as they burn in eternal hell fire.  

The horror's amped up to an even more intense degree by the fact that the inferno bubbles away in the jaws of a giant fish, with the demon banishing the possibility of any hope by parading the banner "In hell there is no redemption".

Conceived as part of a larger altarpiece designed to terrify 15th century churchgoers into leading better lives, it remains a totally surreal and shocking vision. 

Whether you want something scary, or a painting that’s a bit more tranquil, at Art Gallery, we have a huge selection of fantastic paintings by British and international artists that covers the whole range of genres and styles. 

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