Book Fetish

Feast Your Eyes On This Dark Academia Art

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Mara Franzen

Staff Writer

Mara (They/Them) has accidentally on purpose made their entire life about books and stories. Mara graduated with a B.A in creative writing and theatre and is halfway through an MFA in Creative writing. In addition to writing for Book Riot, Mara also has written for The Independent Book Review, Wargamer, and The Other Half, to name a few. They also work as a fiction editor with The Minison Project. Nearly all of their published articles can be found here.

If you’ve spent anytime in online bookish spaces you’ve probably heard of Dark Academia. If you haven’t, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. It’s fair to say that this growing trend is gaining popularity because it has become not only an aesthetic, but also a sub-genre in literature that has led to a lot of dark academia art.

As both the literary genre grows, so too does the aesthetic. Dark academia operates with a lot of emphasis on old fashioned and vintage pieces in combination with bookish trinkets. When you start to look you see a lot of people using busts, books, and typewriters to decorate their space with. There’s also a huge emphasis on unique pieces of art.

When looking for Dark Academia art you want to keep a few things in mind. You want to look for art that has more muted tones, as opposed to bright sunny colors. A lot of dark academia art has something to do with death — you will find a lot of skeletons —but that’s not all that’s out there. You can also keep an eye out for art made from a diagram or encyclopedia page. Old maps make wonderful art as well. Don’t only look for one type of painting or photograph, and don’t be afraid to mix and match styles on your walls.

To help you get started, here are 10 amazing prints that will transform your space into a dark academia oasis.

A woman dancing with a skeleton drawn in ink.

This $13 stunning Dance With Death print is the perfect addition to a dark academia room. Painted on old encyclopedia pages, it brings out both the macabre and academic side of the aesthetic.

a hand holding a shell, and reaching it out to a waterfall.

This $20 print of Mrs. Daniel Sargent strikes exactly the right tone for a dark academia wall. The muted colors, the painting’s fame, and the curiosity that comes from deciphering the painting has a lot to love.

Nine oil paintings, each featuring one of more skulls among flowers, books, music, or food.

This $6 printable set does a lot of the work for you. If you are looking for a ready-made gallery wall and have access to a printer, this is a great option. And see, I told you there would be a lot of skeletons.

Small ghost holding a candle

This $45 ghostly oil painting is on the small side, but packs a powerful punch. There’s something both cute and ominous about it, and I for one would love to have it on my wall at home.

5 Albino bats surrounding two pomegranates on a branch.

This $22 bat and Pomegranate print is not only beautiful, but ties in Greek mythology. Myth, especially Greek and Roman, are very prevalent in dark academia design.

six paintings on dictionary pages featuring a raven reading a book on a skull, Medusa, a dahlia flower, alexander the great, a skull with roses growing out of it, and the venus dimilo

This $34 gallery wall print set has all the best bits of the dark academia aesthetic. With Greek figures, ancient art, and skulls, you’ll have all aspects covered.

Hands cutting a string

This $18 string cutting print is as simple as it is beautiful. The reference to the Greek myth of the fates cutting your life’s string, and the use of negative space creates such a delectably eerie effect.

Printed painting of Dracula's Castle at night

This $18 print of Draculas Castle is terrifying and beautiful. A lovely way to show off your classical literary taste, this print could be a wonderful addition to your home. Maybe even as a great gift for your favorite Dracula fan.

White rabbit with extra eye on cheek, framed with poppy flowers

This $22 white rabbit painting is stunning at first glance. Upon second or third glance, however, while it remains stunning, you start to notice the unsettling elements. Truly a remarkable work for your dark academia wall.

Close up oil painting replica of the eye from the classic painting The Lovers.

This $86 oil painting is a close-up look at the eye of a lover. It’s incredibly delicate, and the ornate frame it comes with only adds to its beauty.

There is so much more to love about the dark academia aesthetic. Looking for more information? Check out this look at why the aesthetic has maintained and grown in popularity over time.