May 27, 2012

Pickman's Model

"What if I told you that I’ve got another studio up there, where I can catch the night-spirit of antique horror and paint things that I couldn’t even think of in Newbury Street? Naturally I don’t tell those cursed old maids at the club—with Reid, damn him, whispering even as it is that I’m a sort of monster bound down the toboggan of reverse evolution. Yes, Thurber, I decided long ago that one must paint terror as well as beauty from life, so I did some exploring in places where I had reason to know terror lives."

R.U. Pickman is the greatest macabre painter Boston has ever seen, but where does he get his ideas?

Pickman's Model was written in 1926 and first published in the October 1927 issue of Weird Tales. The narrator, Thurber, expresses thoughts on art theory which parallel Lovecraft's views. The story was adapted for an episode of Night Gallery in 1972. Pickman makes an appearance in Lovecraft's The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath and the Nathaniel Derby Pickman Foundation is listed as one of the financial backers of the Antarctic expedition in At the Mountains of Madness. His family is mentioned in History of the Necronomicon as being in possession of a sixteenth-century Greek copy of the dread book.

I got the impression that Pickman was at once aristocratic and guttural. The sort of character that should be played by Tom Waits. I am certain that I mispronounced Sidney Sime's name.

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