Zdzisław Beksiński (24 February 1929 – 21 February 2005) was a renowned Polish painter, photographer, and sculptor who is best known as a fantasy artist. Beksiński executed his paintings and drawings either in what he called a ‘Baroque’ or a ‘Gothic’ manner. The first style is dominated by representation, with the best-known examples coming from his ‘fantastic realism’ period when he painted disturbing images of a surrealistic, post-apocalyptic environment. The second style is more abstract, being dominated by form, and is typified by Beksiński’s later paintings. Beksiński was murdered in 2005.
His art is very powerful. It speaks of post-apocalyptic dystopia and especially resonates for people with an interest in fantasy and science fiction – like myself. His work reminds me of, among other things, Salvador Dali, the director Ridley Scott (I’m thinking of Alien, of course), of author Raymond E Feist’s Magician, and of author David Gemmell, among others. In contemporary times this kind of ‘dark art’ finds its natural home in the online fantasy worlds of games such as Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online (all 3 of which I’ve been addicted to at one time or other!) and a whole load of others.
Other artists I like: