Exhibition

The Art of Murder

Exhibition Dates: July 19, 2014 - April 19, 2015

Honoré Daumier
French, 1808-1879
Rue Transnonain, le 15 Avril, 1834
Lithograph
Gift of Marion and John Andrus  P.97.33

Honoré Daumier
French, 1808-1879
Rue Transnonain, le 15 Avril, 1834
Lithograph
Gift of Marion and John Andrus P.97.33

Artists have long been drawn to the complicated murk of murder, from the biblical and quranic stories of Cain and Abel (the first murderer and first victim), to the horrific deaths of Jesus and early Christian martyrs, to gut-wrenching accounts of modern-day homicide.

Murder is inevitably traumatic, a tragic narrative unfolding from the crime to its consequences. It is this story, whether arising from persecution, criminal intent, or a depraved sense of passion, that artists find so intriguing.

Today, with murder constantly in the news—if it bleeds, it leads—and saturating our entertainment, from video games to mystery novels, we may be desensitized to its frightening reality. And yet our fascination with the ultimate crime endures, suggesting a primal need to grapple with its brutal truth. Artists, too, feel compelled to explore this meaning, as seen in the works here.

This exhibition was drawn from the MIA’s permanent collection of graphic arts and photography, and was complemented by key loans from private collectors.