There is something profound in an artwork that stares at you rather than you looking at it. We are not often looked at, so when we stand forth an animated object that stares at us, we are bound to feel captivated, especially when a crude woman is staring us down.
Below are four examples of paintings that chillingly stare right back at you:
Ophelia by Henri Lehmann, 1848
Looking incredibly haunting and intensely beautiful, Ophelia guides you to her eyes to create a bond with one another. With her captivating eyes and outstretched hand that carries a flower, you cannot help but feel compelled to reach out and grab the flower from her. how tempting!
The Lunatic of Etretat by Hugues Merle, 1871
This sad yet beautiful artwork piques our curiosity and helps us to empathize with the feelings shown in the woman’s eyes. Her unrelenting, intense gaze engulfs you in her black-rimmed eyes, and it takes a while for you to notice she’s clutching a log instead of a baby. Is she driven mad by the loss of a child? Or is it the desperate longing for one? It is up to you to decide.
The Reluctant Bride by Auguste Toulmouche, 1866
Oh, how the bride’s piercing eyes fascinate us with her chilling, terrifying tremble. The bride seems extremely cold in contrast to the warm hues used in the artwork as she protests against the planned marriage she has been forced into. My oh my, such raw emotions are depicted in her eyes that desperately call out for us.
The Massacre of the Innocents by Léon Cogniet, 1824
This scared mother, barefoot and pushed against the wall, looks at us with begging eyes, as she attempts to safeguard her son’s life by covering his lips so his sobbing does not reveal them. With her fearful expressions and depictions in her eyes, one cannot help but feel compelled to take her hand and bring her and her son to safety.
How raw and powerful the human eye can be! What emotions did these artworks evoke in you? Which of the following paintings captivated you the most?