“Picture, The“


“Picture, The“
   Nonextant juvenile story; written in 1907. Described in HPL’s commonplace book as concerning a “painting of ultimate horror.” In a letter to Robert Bloch (June 1, 1933) he says of it: “I had a man in a Paris garret paint a mysterious canvas embodying the quintessential essence of all horror. He is found clawed & mangled one morning before his easel. The picture is destroyed, as in a titanic struggle—but in one corner of the frame a bit of canvas remains …& on it the coroner finds to his horror the painted counterpart of the sort of claw which evidently killed the artist” (Letters to Robert Bloch [Necronomicon Press, 1993], p. 15). The story was possibly influenced by Poe’s “The Oval Portrait,” in which a painter, in painting a portrait of his wife, insidiously sucks the life from the woman and transfers it into the portrait.

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