Perhaps fitting for a horror short story, the devil is in the details in Poe’s "The Oval Portrait" (1842).
A benighted traveller finds shelter in an abandoned mansion in the Apennine Mountains of Italy. Inside he gets absorbed by a stunning painting and decides to delve into its origins with the help from a book he finds on a pillow.
The story revolves around the complex and often tragic relationship between life and art. As per usual Poe can’t help himself to play with layers, and most of the story is told as an embedded narrative.
The intense emotional and psychological depths of the narrator’s infatuation with the portrait and the enticing volume that helps to shed a light on the painting make this short story another fascinating and haunting and Poesque tale which succinctly glorifies the immortality of art.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American poet, author, and literary critic. Most famous for his poetry, short stories, and tales of the supernatural, mysterious, and macabre, he is also regarded as the inventor of the detective genre and a contributor to the emergence of science fiction, dark romanticism, and weird fiction. His most famous works include "The Raven" (1945), "The Black Cat" (1943), and "The Gold-Bug" (1843).