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Art Diary

Phantoms of the Night: 100 Years of Nosferatu

9 December 2022

The Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection in Berlin marks the centenary of the release of F.W. Murnau’s groundbreaking horror film with an exhibition that explores the film’s art-historical precedents as well as its lasting influence on contemporary art and culture (16 December–23 April 2023). A collection of sketches for the original set design in 1922 reveals how the director looked not just to the fantastical art and literature of the early 20th century, but also to German Romanticism to conjure his chilling scenes. His inspirations include Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Moonrise Over the Sea (1822), while the swooning female subject of Francisco Goya’s etching Tantalo from the series Los Caprichos (1799) recalls the fainting of Ellen Hutter in Nosferatu. The exhibition also looks at the ways in which the film has continued to capture the imaginations of artists and designers throughout the decades. Find out more on the Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection’s website.

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Design for the film poster Nosferatu (1921). Estate Albin Grau, Cantonal Library Apenzell Ausserrhoden, Trogen. © Cantonal Library Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Trogen

Moonrise Over the Sea (1822), Caspar David Friedrich. Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Still from Nosferatu (1922), Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. © Deutsche Kinemathek