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The Visual References of Black Mass Rising


I have mentioned in interviews that the spark that got me writing Black Mass Rising was the haunting cathedrals of Polish extreme surrealist Zdzisław Beksiński. The question I asked myself was a simple one: who’s unholy story could be hiding behind such a building? And the answer came to me loud and clear: Dracula’s.


Art, alongside music, is the main inspiration for the stories I write. Looking into art, and especially Pre-Raphaelite paintings, helps me determine not only the mood and feel I want a book to have, but tell the story itself. There is a vibrant storytelling potential to be found in art, and I often find my answers in there, nested inside these divine paintings.


Here are six paintings that inspired Black Mass Rising, both visually and narratively, handled perfectly by the always amazing Jodie Muir.



Zdzislaw Beksinski, Untitled, 1985



Peter Paul Rubens, Saint George and the Dragon, 1605-1607



Ivan Aivazovsky, View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus, 1856



Heinrich Hofmann, Christ in Gethsemane, 1824



Frederic Lord Leighton, Flaming June, 1895



Louis Grimshaw, Mansion House, 1894