Art & Design

Devil Painting and The Darkness of Hell

Since the dawn of civilization, individuals have always been fascinated with demons. From the ancient Egyptians to the Aztecs right up until this very day, the theme of the devil and evil has always been one of deep intrigue and debate.

Throughout history, there have been countless drawings and paintings depicting the Demonic, Lucifer, Satan, and demons and angels. Many of these realistic and abstract artworks have become famous and iconic as far as our idea and image of evil goes.

This article showcases some of these terrifying and chilling depictions. They range from the bible, the high renaissance, mythology, and perhaps most fascinating, from the very depths of the hellish human imagination itself. 

Lucifer – FRANZ VON STUCK

Lucifer was a dark, ominous painting by German artist Franz von Stuck in 1890. It depicts the fallen angel from the bible as a human-like demon sitting in a firm yet relaxed position staring straight into your soul as you view it.

Instead of depicting Satan as a monster, Stuck presents the creature as a stern-faced man with black wings and piercing yellow eyes. Perhaps the most frightening quality of this painting is how normal the devil looks.

This scary satan painting suggests that the devil isn’t some supernatural being or entity of evil, but instead that the source of evil resides inside human beings themselves and is something that we must be responsible for. It is currently housed in the national gallery of foreign art in Sofia.

The Angel of Death – EVELYN PICKERING DE MORGAN

The Angel of Death is a beautiful rendition of the theme of death and the grim reaper painted by English painter Evelyn De Morgan in 1881. Like Stuck’s Lucifer piece, the demon presented here is also represented as an entirely human-looking entity.

Evelyn depicts the Angel of Death as a beautiful and almost harmless figure who seems to caress and comfort its female victim inside the painting tenderly. It could even be argued that the two seem to be almost in love.

De Morgan gracefully illustrates the unique view that death is not evil and is nothing to be feared. Unlike most other people’s views of death and dying, Evelyn portrays the belief that when death comes for you, it should be embraced with both hands.

Wild Chase – FRANZ VON STUCK

The Wild Chase is another fantastic painting of the demonic by Von Stuck and depicts the Teutonic myth of Wotan, the Mad Hunter; the very personification of death and destruction in Germanic mythology.

This scary painting shows Wotan dressed in black with a sword in hand as he rides his horse of death through the night, leaving misery and despair wherever he goes. Unlike De Morgan’s more benevolent view, Stuck depicts death as an evil force that should be ultimately feared.

Many have also noted that Stuck’s Wotan also bears a striking resemblance to Adolf Hitler. The hair, the eyes, the mustache, even the demon’s pose all bear an uncanny likeness to the German tyrant. Although he was painted in 1889, which ironically was the year Hitler was born, he was perhaps Stuck painted a prophecy of the death and destruction to come.

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The Last Judgment Triptych (1467-71) – HANS MEMLING

The Last Judgment is a phenomenal work attributed to Flemish artist Hans Memling. It depicts the last judgment scene and the second coming of Jesus Christ as spoken about in the Christian bible.

As it is a triptych, it depicts three different scenes in three other panels. The center panel shows Jesus sitting in heaven judging the world below while the archangel St. Michael is busy dividing the souls of the earth and driving the damned towards hell.

The left panel shows St. Peter at the gates of heaven alongside the angels as they welcome the worthy into paradise, while the right panel shows those forsaken for their evil deeds as they are dragged down to hell for all eternity.

Jacob’s Dream – RAPHAEL

Jacob’s Dream is another religious-themed painting from the High Renaissance period by Italian artist Raphael. It exquisitely showcases the scene from the old testament of Jacob’s dream and the ladder ascending to heaven.

The story of Jacob and the ladder is meant to be one of a symbolic connection between heaven and the earth. They represent one’s progress along the spiritual path and eventual ascension into heaven.

In the painting, the clouds of darkness and ignorance part ways to reveal the glorious golden steps that lead to God. What is perhaps most interesting in the painting, though, is how God is depicted as a dark, almost devilish figure. It currently resides in the Palazzo Apostolico in Vatican City.

The Bottom Line

So, there you have it- the five fabulous paintings on evil and the demonic. However, these masterpieces are only the tip of the iceberg of paintings associated with the realms of the dark one. You will have to delve deeper into the heart of darkness yourself if you wish to know more. The question is, though- are you brave enough?

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