Checkmate — Maria Helena Vieira da Silva


Checkmate, 1950 by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (1908–1992)

Illustration for Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death” — Ivor Abrahams

The Masque of the Red Death 1976 by Ivor Abrahams born 1935

Illustration for Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death,” 1976 by Ivor Abrahams (1935–2015)

“The Masque of Red Death”


Edgar Allan Poe

The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince’s own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress nor egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death”.

It was towards the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence. Continue reading “Illustration for Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death” — Ivor Abrahams”

Pacific — Alex Colville


Pacific, 1967 by Alex Colville (1920-2013)

“The Friar’s Dream” — Álvaro Mutis


From The Mansion; English translation by Beatriz Haugner.

Saturday Night — George Petrovich Kichigin


Saturday Night, 1989 by George Petrovich Kichigin (b. 1951)

Astronaut and Radio Telescope — Bettina von Arnim


Astronaut and Radio Telescope, 1970 by Bettina von Arnim (b. 1940)

12 still frames from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc

09 (1130)13 (1156)16 (1156)25 (1156)26 (1156)28 (1155)34 (1153)46 (1129)49 (1118)51 (1105)55 (1072)59 (1034)

From The Passion of Joan of Arc, 1928. Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and starring Renée Jeanne Falconetti. Cinematography by Rudolph Maté. Via FilmGrab.


Infatuation — Konrad Klapheck

Verliebtheit (Infatuation), 1969 by Konrad Klapheck (b. 1935)

Freudian Woman, NYC — Louis Faurer


Freudian Woman, NYC, 1947 by Louis Faurer (1916-2001)

much/little (Emily Dickinson)

In this short Life that only lasts an hour
How much – how little – is within our power

Emily Dickinson (poem 1287)


Head of a Woman — Maruja Mallo


Head of a Woman, 1946 by Maruja Mallo (1902–1995)

The Plan Maker — Salman Toor 


The Plan Maker, 2018 by Salman Toor (b. 1983)

Michaelmas Term — Toyin Ojih Odutola 


Michaelmas Term, 2016 by Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985)

Azorka — Tilo Baumgärtel


Azorka, 2018 by Tilo Baumgärtel (b. 1972)

Illustration for “The Hare and the Black-and-White Witch” — Barry Moser


Barry Moser’s illustration for Lynne Reid Banks’s “The Hare and the Black-and-White Witch.” From The Magic Hare, Avon, 1994.

Mostryn — Rosa Loy


Mostryn, 2020 by Rosa Loy (b. 1958)

Opportunity — George Petrovich Kichigin


Opportunity, 1993 by George Petrovich Kichigin