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An art opening at The Poe Museum

Did you know that Edgar Allen Poe’s sweetheart, Elmira Shelton, lived in Church Hill when she finally got engaged to him just before his death? She was one of two women in his life who contributed to the ‘ideal feminine’, unattainable women he wrote about in his prose. This is a subject of great interest by local artist Nicole Pisaniello.

On January 20th 2018 from 12pm- midnight until April 15th 2018, The Poe Museum of Richmond (1914-16 East Main St.) will host an opening reception featuring 8 ink and watercolor paintings by local artist, Nicole Pisaniello. The works illustrate two of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, “Ligeia” and “The Island of the Fay”, and will be shown in conjunction with their annual birthday bash celebrating the 19th century author.

“Rather than try and capture every scene, I attempted to convey the overall tone and emotion of the story to the viewer with color choices, body postures, shapes, and symbols. Paramount among these, was Ligeia’s constant, all-consuming presence throughout the story. The surreal recounting of the tale through the eyes of the nameless narrator places Ligeia, as with so many of Poe’s female characters, on an unattainable pedestal of feminine perfection. And yet part of this perfection is the ephemeral quality, the untimely death and decay, so that she is just within his grasp but always slipping away and always haunting him.

I drew heavily on the grotesques of 15th and 16th century art, mixing them with Victorian images as well as engravings of astronomers and alchemists, finding that their elaborate and fantastic imagery, as well as heavy use of symbolism, lent itself perfectly to the stories. The works are intended to be part of a larger collection of illustrations in a collaborative work focusing on Edgar Allan Poe’s female-centric stories.”

Poe’s Birthday Bash will feature a full day of music, performances, tours, and a birthday cake, as well as the art exhibit. The artist herself will be available for a meet-and-greet from 7pm-10pm. Admission for the event is $8.00/FREE for children 6 and under and members. For further information call: (804) 648-5523.

More About The Artist

Nicole Pisaniello graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been published in two fantasy art books as well as Faerie Magazine, and the “Loving Language Baby Books” series by Lisa Hansel (2016). Her primary mediums include watercolor, acrylic, and graphite, but she also enjoys working on digital and 3D projects. She is the co-founder of RVA Krampusnacht and Misfit Theatre Collective, and works as a costume designer for Host of Sparrows Aerial Circus. In 2015 Nicole was privileged to bring a solo exhibit titled “Chambers of the Red Death” to the Poe Museum in Richmond, chronicling Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” with cut-paper shadow boxes. Currently she is excited to be working on illustrations for the new “Ice Kingdoms Bestiary” RPG book for Mad Martian Games.

To see more of her work please visit:


Nicole Pisaniello 01/18/2018 at 11:28 AM

Many thanks for the lovely write-up. I can’t wait to see everyone on Saturday!


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