The Ugliest, Most Beautiful Paintings Ever Made

Szabolcs Veres’ canvases are ridiculously grotesque — and that’s what makes them so fascinating. The 27-year-old Transylvanian artist turns the genre of portraiture on its head with wild, expressionistic, and monstrous works. Hundreds of vibrant colors and layers of luscious brushstrokes come together to compose horrific beasts that look like they just crawled out of a warm, wet grave. Mixing elements of animals, humans, and murky landscapes, Veres constructs a nightmarish vision of humanity that’s truly sublime.

French surrealist Andre Breton famously once said, “Beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all.” His concept of convulsive beauty comes to life in Veres’ marvelous work, which is on view at New York’s Spencer Brownstone Gallery through May 15.

Szabolcs Veres, Porthunt 3, 2009. Oil on canvas, 47.24 x 55.12 inches / 120 x 140 cm. Courtesy Spencer Brownstone Gallery, New York