Many of the images conjured by Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are indelibly etched into the minds of readers: The black cat entombed within a basement wall; the beating heart beneath the floorboards; the lowering, swinging pendulum; scores of women buried alive; the raven squawking, “Nevermore!”
Over the more than a century and a half since Poe’s death, artists have endeavored to capture those images in their own individual styles. The Brandywine River Museum offers a broad sampling of those efforts in its new show, “Picturing Poe: Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Stories and Poems.”
“Poe is one of the most illustrated modern artists, so there was a wealth of material available,” says curator Audrey Lewis. The exhibition includes images for “The Gold-Bug” that Poe himself commissioned from artist F.O.C. Darley, and continues with pieces by such luminaries as Edouard Manet, Gustave Dore, Paul Gauguin, Arthur Rackham and Robert Motherwell.
It brings Poe up to the present day with a selection of digital images from the book “Steampunk Poe,” issued by Philly publisher Running Press.
“I wanted to show a range of work from Poe’s death to the present,” Lewis says. “All of these artists are responding to Poe’s darkness, his strangeness, his perverseness. I think that continues to attract artists, especially artists outside the mainstream.”
Through Nov. 15
$6-$12, Brandywine River Museum
US Route 1, Chadds Ford