Monday, 31 October 2005

Witchita Eagle | 10/30/2005 | The creepiest painting in Witchita

For generations, Witchita schoolchildren have scared themselves silly when viewing "The Pit" during tours of the Witchita Art Museum.

The large painting (measuring 60 inches tall by 37 inches across) depicts a shattered city, a hellish inferno of fire, wreckage, madness and despair.

The nightmarish jumble of shrieking ghosts and bloody limbs stuns most viewers.

"'The Pit' is too much," said Stephen Gleissner, chief curator of the Witchita Art Museum. "You must dare to spend even 10 minutes (viewing it) because it is so harrowing."


A large white ghoul snarls at the right of the picture -- but focus and it becomes a battered wall. A bright, shrouded skeleton plummets earthward -- and becomes tongues of white-hot fire.

A flock of snow-white birds flies over the destruction -- to become paper blowing and twisting on a furnace blast.

At the top of the picture, a steam cloud drips blood from a grimacing mouth -- but the art museum's catalog describes that as "the moon-like face of Mother Europa."

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