Dark Beautiful Steele

Dark Beautiful Steele. Oil on canvas. 2016.

Barbara Steele is a British actress who appeared in a number of Italian movies in the 60s. She appeared in an iconic dance scene in Fellini’s 8 1/2, which Quentin Tarantino paid homage to in Pulp Fiction. She made a number of TV appearances, as well. But for me, and many others, her best roles were in the horror films. Her dark hair and pale complexion was perfect for the black and white movies which featured eerie lighting to accent the gloomy mood many of these movies depicted.

I created this piece in gray tones as a tribute to her haunting beauty and titled it Dark Beautiful Steele. The vignettes to the right of her image, symbolize scenes from three of her movies. The top symbol is from a movie known as Black Sunday to American audiences. It’s called La Maschera del Demonio(Mask of the Demon) in Italian. The middle image symbolizes Castle of Blood or Danza Macabra. Finally, the bottom symbol shows the the blade from The Pit and the Pendulum, a Roger Corman movie which Steele starred with Vincent Price.