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A guide to dark visibilities

Gothic as a genre has become more amorphous and difficult to contain. This book brings together for the first time many of the multifarious visual motifs and media associated with Gothic together with areas that have never received serious study or mention in this regard before. It draws attention to an array of dark artefacts such as Goth and Gothic jewellery, dolls, posters and food, which, though part of popular mass marketing, have often been marginalised and largely omitted from the mainstream of Gothic Studies publishing. The book moves from the earliest Gothic architecture to décor and visual aspects of theatrical design, masquerade and dance. It focuses on paintings in two historical spans from Jan Van Eyck to Henry Fuseli and from Goya to H. R. Giger to consider Clovis Trouille's works influenced by horror films and Vincent Castiglia's paintings in blood. Gothic engravings, motifs of spectral portraits, posters and signs are covered. The book then uses early visual devices like Eidophusikon and the long-lived entertainment of peepshows to introduce a discussion of projection technologies like magic lanterns and, subsequently, film and TV. Gothic photography from Daguerreotypes onwards; and Gothic font, scripts and calligraphy are then discussed. Finally, the book presents a survey of the development of newer Gothic media, such as video gaming, virtual reality (VR) games and survival horror apps.

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David Annwn Jones

This introduction provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The focus of the book moves from the earliest Gothic architecture to décor and visual aspects of theatrical design, masquerade and dance. It focuses on paintings in two historical spans from Jan Van Eyck to Henry Fuseli from Goya to H. R. Giger, and considers Clovis Trouille's works influenced by horror films and Vincent Castiglia's paintings in blood. The book deals with Gothic photography from Daguerreotypes onwards, with particular emphasis given to the work of Simon Marsden and Paul Koudounaris. It also provides an overview of major trends in Gothic and Goth costume and jewellery with reference also to descriptions of these adornments in Gothic novels. The book opens with a survey of the development of newer Gothic media, such as video gaming, and survival horror apps.

in Gothic effigy
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David Annwn Jones

It is possible to argue that the pointed arch and pointed rib vault comprise the foundational epitome of Gothic architectural style. The abbey church of Saint-Denis in Paris is often cited as one of the earliest buildings where these different elements of construction and decoration were brought together. Gothic architecture manifested innovation in service to an emphatic reinstatement of past history. Certain aspects of decorative art in Renaissance buildings such as Coppo di Marcovaldo's lurid mosaic 'Hell' on the vault of the Florence Baptistry conveyed nightmarish scenes of rare power. The histories of Gothic ruins, gardens and follies are, of course, intimately related. A viable working definition of Gothic theatre might take in Gothic Revival drama, Sturm und Drang drama from the Continent, Victorian Gothic melodrama and the recent surge in contemporary Gothic drama.

in Gothic effigy
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David Annwn Jones

Gothic painting developed half a century later than Gothic sculpture, around the turn of the thirteenth century. The most important and innovative paintings of psychological horror in the early nineteenth century were created by Francisco Goya. Anne Cranny-Francis proposes that H. R. Giger's work deals with 'the traditional preoccupations of the Gothic fear, desire, sex, torture, bodily mutilation' and 'uses conventional Gothic images and strategies' such as 'darkness' and 'bodily fragmentation'. Félicien Rops's aquatints and etchings of a sexual and fetishistic nature are justifiably admired by Gothic artists but M. R. James's haunting short story 'The Mezzotint' returned to antiquarian engravings in order to express deep anxieties about dynastic guilt. Whilst acknowledging the graphic art linked to the early career of Black Sabbath, the first posters for Goth rock groups had a DIY style evolved from Punk fanzine art.

in Gothic effigy
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David Annwn Jones

In the latter half of the twelfth century, monumental Gothic sculpture proliferated on the façades and around portals of cathedrals, with column statues carved from the same blocks as the columns themselves. The proliferation of multifarious Goth and Gothic dark-themed statuary has its origin both in graveyard statuary and the macabre figurines featured in some household collections and cabinets of curiosity. Some commentators on Mark Porter's statue of Baphomet have claimed the work as libertarian, individualist and Gothic. Early humanoid automata appear in the Medieval works that authors of the literary Gothic wished to emulate and pastiche. Ceroplastic studio was established at the Imperio Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale or 'Le Specola', which resulted in one of the most comprehensive and medically accurate collections of wax simulacra of the human body. Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's Livide intersperses the iconography of human taxidermy with automata and vampirism.

in Gothic effigy
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David Annwn Jones

Small-scale and domestic peepshows featured macabre, unsettling and Gothic visions. The Gothic resonance of the tale, its popularity and the possibility, with Pepper's reflective trick, for human and ghostly double crossing and re-crossing of each other onstage proved irresistible to the showmen and, subsequently, to successive audiences. When Joseph Ackermann & Co. published the first two sets of phenakistoscope discs, they called them the Phantasmascope and Fantascope, immediately making links with the Gothic lantern show Phantasmagoria. Though, by 1830, the age of the spectacular, large-scale Phantasmagoria was waning, several developments allowed the lantern-of-fear shows to continue in different milieux. The images on stereoscopic cards link the world of Étienne-Gaspard Robertson's Phantasmagoria and Lepoittevin's Diableries with the operas féeries and, ultimately, the films of Georges Méliès. Frankenstein was to prove more durable than the kinetoscope, but the uncanny associations of the slightly earlier medium recur in Max Goldblatt's horror film Kinetoscope.

in Gothic effigy
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David Annwn Jones

The Gothic pedigree of the first graphic novel proper, Joseph Franz von Götz's Lenardo and Blandine, was amply manifest at the time of its publication. Wilhelm Busch engaged with a much wider range of Gothic materials in his long career of producing comic strips for the hand-coloured Bilderbogen, and the Munich Fliegende Blätter, in southern Germany from 1859 onwards. Louis Boulanger's Ronde is a provocative lithograph full of dark humour and Diablerie and which vaunts the suspicious hybridity of its medium. Charles Burns has reintroduced this medium into Gothic culture and instated its importance as Goth expression by appearing as the 'Roving Artist' and hand-cutting silhouettes at Goth and Steampunk festivals throughout Britain. Gothic calendars that exclusively feature images of females run the gamut from restrained renditions of pre-pubescent she-elves to quite lurid erotic work.

in Gothic effigy
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David Annwn Jones

Daguerreotypes, first exhibited in public in 1839, were invented by the partnership of Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and Nicéphore Niépce. In Champfleury's humorous tale, 'La Légende du daguerréotype' a M. Balandard arrives in Paris to have his picture taken by means of the new photographic art. A decade before the discovery of Spiritualist photography, Nathanial Hawthorne drew upon Spiritualist connotations in describing the character of Holgrave the Daguerreotypist in The House of the Seven Gables. Many photographers involved with Goth and Gothic arts have created studies of graveyards, houses reputed to be haunted and skeletal remains. But due to the scale and ambition of their exploration of these motifs, the work of Simon Marsden and Paul Koudounaris invite sustained attention. Francesca Woodman's oeuvre instates her as an influential and powerful presence in modern photography.

in Gothic effigy
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David Annwn Jones

Gothic script is sometimes thought to refer exclusively to 'Blackletter' or 'Gothic minuscule', a type of writing originating in the mid-twelfth century, but recurring in the form of print-fonts and used in some German publishing and newspapers well into the twentieth century. Marbled papers were also used to bind the collections of those poetic writings that eighteenth-century enthusiasts termed 'Gothic'. Monica Soare writes of graffiti's role as a Gothic signifier in Bernard Rose's horror film Candyman. Tapestries were often used to instruct children, especially by female tutors, yet they have also been employed in Gothic texts to warn, seduce and deceive. Though many bands might claim to be precursors of Goth and Dark Wave music, there is a consensus that Black Sabbath's eponymous first album of 1970 introduced many of the themes and imagery associated with Goth bands.

in Gothic effigy
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David Annwn Jones

Gothic' costume in the first wave of Gothic novels were deployed in a highly selective and retrospective sense to evoke characters active in bygone ages but also to stress these figures' status and roles in the sexual drama of the texts. It is often supposed that modern Goth and Gothic jewellery is predominantly derived from rings, brooches and necklaces worn in eighteenth-century and Victorian masked balls, and also from mourning brooches, rings and related accessories. The present market for Goth and Gothic toys both for children and adults is prodigiously large, with the influence of the nineteenth-century texts of Frankenstein and Dracula still being felt in this market. Halloween customs that stimulated the annual creation of home-made masks and Hollywood cinema and cinematic productions led to a new mass market for horror masks.

in Gothic effigy