Definition: Sometimes used to indicate an
imaginative, subjective world of inner expression that transcends mere fantasy or science fiction. The paintings of Richard Dadd (English, 1817-1886) are often described as fantastic in this sense.Example:Richard Dadd (English, 1817-1886), The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, 1855-64, oil on canvas, 54.0 x 39.4 cm, Tate Gallery, London. After murdering his father in 1843, Dadd was diagnosed as insane and spent the rest of his life in asylums. Cut off from the outside world, he produced a series of paintings which combine a remarkable attention to detail with an individual, manic intensity. A fairy woodman stands with his axe at the center of this composition, observed by numerous characters from Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, including the fairy king and queen Oberon and Titania, along with the fairy Queen Mab, who rides in her chariot. The horror vacui apparent in Richard Dadd's pictures may be a result of his severe mental illness. See art brut.Fantastic is often used loosely to mean very good. Also see chinoiserie, deformalism, expressionism, fanciful, folk art, grotesque, oneiric, pain, praise, singerie, Surrealism, Symbolism, and ugly.
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