The Old Hag?
October 22, 2011 3:49 PM   Subscribe

There is a painting by William Blake depicting a hag/imp like creature sitting on the chest of a naked sleeper. I believe it's meant to be a representation of the experience of sleep paralysis. My google is failing - does anyone know the title of the painting?

A link to the painting is here:
posted by chmmr to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

It's not william blake.
posted by empath at 4:00 PM on October 22, 2011

Best answer: Do you mean this painting by Henry Fusili?
posted by crush-onastick at 4:02 PM on October 22, 2011

Yeah, the painting you linked to is actually by Nikolaj Abraham Abildgaard, which I think is just called "Nightmare." It's sort of a cover version of the original Fuseli painting.
posted by katillathehun at 4:03 PM on October 22, 2011

Your google is failing because it's not a painting by Blake. The clue's actually in the URL you pasted; it's a painting called Nightmare by the Danish painter Nicolai Abildgaard.

(I got there using Tin Eye.)
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:03 PM on October 22, 2011

It's a painting by Abildgaard as the filename suggests, and is itself inspired by the famous "Nightmare" painting of Fuseli, whose work William Blake made several engravings of.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:07 PM on October 22, 2011

That last image in my link is tempting because it's a version of "Nightmare" in a Blake exhibition but it actually appears to have been done by Thomas Holloway. Blake very much admired Fuseli though, and called him "The only Man that e'er I knew / Who did not make me almost spue."
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:23 PM on October 22, 2011

Fuseli's admiration of Blake was more tempered:

Blake is damned good to steal from.

So you could be right after all, conceivably; much of Blake's work did not survive.
posted by jamjam at 4:57 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ah, I think the Fuseli painting was the one I was originally thinking of. I was describing to a friend the experience of sleep paralysis, and I knew there was a painting that I thought was by Blake that depicted it. The vague terms I used to try to find it threw up the painting I linked to.

But yes, the Fuseli painting was what I was after - the other one was near enough that I thought it must've been it.

I wasn't aware of the Tin Eye site - thanks MLC. Very interesting. Thanks all for your help too.
posted by chmmr at 2:40 AM on October 24, 2011

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