Category: Lucifer – Satan

Morning Star (Lucifer) – Paul Fryer

The Holy Trinity Church in Marylebone, Westminster, built specifically to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon, hasn’t been used as a place of worship since the 30’s, but that didn’t stop artist Paul Fryer from making a religious statement by hanging this terrifying statue of Satan inside.

The piece, titled “Lucifer (Morningstar)” is a wax sculpture depicting the devil snared in a set of power lines. The statue is equal parts grotesque and beautiful, showing Lucifer as an oily, black creature with immense white wings (created from real feathers). Even creepier in the fact that it’s lit via the church’s stained glass windows, an ironic juxtaposition that won’t be lost on many.

Feyer hasn’t come out and said exactly what kind of statement he was trying to make at the Holy Trinity Church, but his certainly wasn’t the first. Earlier in 2008, the building (which is now being considered as a shopping center) hosted an art display that featured a crucified ape as the centerpiece.

The Violin Sonata in G minor – L. Boilly

The Violin Sonata in G minor, B.g5, more familiarly known as the Devil’s Trill Sonata (Italian: Il trillo del diavolo), is a work for solo violin (with figured bassaccompaniment) by Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770). It is the composer’s best-known composition, notable for its technically difficult passages. A typical performance lasts 15 minutes.

Tartini allegedly told the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that he had dreamed that the devil had appeared to him and had asked to be Tartini’s servant and teacher. At the end of the music lesson, Tartini handed the devil his violin to test his skill, which the devil began to play with virtuosity; delivering an intense and magnificent performance. So singularly beautiful and executed with such superior taste and precision, that the composer felt his breath taken away. The complete story is told by Tartini himself in Lalande’s Voyage d’un François en Italie:

One night, in the year 1713 I dreamed I had made a pact with the devil for my soul. Everything went as I wished: my new servant anticipated my every desire. Among other things, I gave him my violin to see if he could play. How great was my astonishment on hearing a sonata so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence, as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted: my breath failed me, and I awoke. I immediately grasped my violin in order to retain, in part at least, the impression of my dream. In vain! The music which I at this time composed is indeed the best that I ever wrote, and I still call it the “Devil’s Trill”, but the difference between it and that which so moved me is so great that I would have destroyed my instrument and have said farewell to music forever if it had been possible for me to live without the enjoyment it affords me.

Source: Wikipedia

Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council – John Martin

British artist John Martin created between 1823 and 1827 to illustrate a new edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost. It was described by in The Guardian in 2011 as “Satan holding court in what looks like a solo performance in the Albert Hall (decades in advance)”. Popular success of John Martin’s religious paintings, particularly Belshazzar’s Feast (first exhibited at the British Institution in 1821, and published as engravings in 1826), led to a commission in 1823 from London publisher Septimus Prowett for Martin to illustrate a new edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Martin made mezzotint engravings of 24 subjects in two sizes, 48 plates in all, with large prints measuring 8 by 11 inches (20 cm × 28 cm) and small prints 6 by 8 inches (15 cm × 20 cm).

John Martin, Belshazzar’s Feast, c.1821

The engraving of Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council illustrates the debate among Satan’s “Stygian Council” in the council-chamber of Pandæmonium at the beginning of Book II of Paradise Lost. In the engraving, Satan is depicted enthroned at the heart of the hall of his Palace of Pandæmonium, at the centre of a rotunda filled with onlooking throngs of fallen angels, illuminated by the new technology of gaslight. His throne is placed atop a black hemisphere. The composition may be inspired by an illustration in the 1782 edition of William Beckford’s novel Vathek.

The prints were published by subscription from 1825 to 1827, with two prints and accompanying text published each month, to be bound together by the subscriber. The engravings were also available to buy separately as sets or single prints. The book and the engravings were considerable critical and commercial success, with Martin’s original compositions praised for their invention and power. Martin was encouraged to start work on engraved illustrations of the Bible, and published a further large format print of Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council in 1831, measuring 24 by 32 inches (61 cm × 81 cm). According to musicologist Edward Lockspeiser, this engraving had a singular effect and a lasting influence on the composer Hector Berlioz.

The bold iconography and design of Martin’s engravings were inspirations for scenes in D. W. Griffith’s films Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, for the design of the Galactic Senate in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace].

Source: Wikipedia

The Fall of the Rebel Angels – John Martin

Lucifer and his fellow angels are cast out of Heaven, falling into a deep chasm with sheer rock walls textured by what appears to be tree roots. The chasm is illuminated by light from the opening through which the angels fall, but it is otherwise in deep shadow. The angels grasp their spears and shields as they plummet into the seemingly bottomless pit, simultaneously stuck by falling stones.

John Milton’s Paradise Lost (published for Septimus Prowett in 1827 and for Charles Tilt in 1833)

Luceafărul (poem) – Octavian Smigelschi

Luceafărul (originally spelled Luceafĕrul; variously rendered as “The Morning Star”, “The Evening Star”, “The Vesper”, “The Daystar”, or “Lucifer”) is a narrative poem by Romanian author Mihai Eminescu. It was first published in 1883, out of Vienna, by Romanian expatriates in Austria-Hungary. It is generally considered Eminescu’s masterpiece, one of the greatest accomplishments in Romanian literature, and one of the last milestones in Europe’s Romantic poetry. One in a family or “constellation” of poems, it took Eminescu ten years to conceive, its final shape being partly edited by the philosopher Titu Maiorescu. During this creative process, Eminescu distilled Romanian folklore, Romantic themes, and various staples of Indo-European myth, arriving from a versified fairy tale to a mythopoeia, a self-reflection on his condition as a genius, and an illustration of his philosophy of love.

The eponymous celestial being, also referred to as “Hyperion”, is widely identified as Eminescu’s alter ego; he combines elements of fallen angels, daimons, incubi, but is neither mischievous nor purposefully seductive. His daily mission on the firmament is interrupted by the lustful calls of Princess Cătălina, who asks for him to “glide down” and become her mate. He is persuaded by her to relinquish his immortality, which would require approval from a third protagonist, the Demiurge. The Morning Star seeks the Demiurge at the edge of the Universe, but only receives a revelation of mankind’s irrelevancy. In his brief absence, the Princess is seduced by a fellow mortal. As he returns to his place in the sky, Hyperion understands that the Demiurge was right.

Luceafărul enjoys fame not just as a poetic masterpiece, but also as one of the very last works completed and read publicly by Eminescu before his debilitating mental illness and hospitalization. It has endured in cultural memory as both the object of critical scrutiny and a strong favorite of the public. Its translators into various languages include figures such as Günther Deicke, Zoltán Franyó, Mite Kremnitz, Leon Levițchi, Mate Maras, Corneliu M. Popescu, David Samoylov, Immanuel Weissglas, Todur Zanet, and Vilém Závada. The poem left a distinct legacy in literary works by Mircea Eliade, Emil Loteanu, Alexandru Vlahuță, and, possibly, Ingeborg Bachmann. It has also inspired composers Nicolae Bretan and Eugen Doga, as well as various visual artists.



Luceafărul opens as a typical fairy tale, with a variation of “once upon a time” and a brief depiction of its female character, a “wondrous maiden”, the only child of a royal couple—her name, Cătălina, will only be mentioned once, in the poem’s 46th stanza. She is shown waiting impatiently for nightfall, when she gazes upon the Morning Star:

Din umbra falnicelor bolți

Ea pasul și-l îndreaptă

Lângă fereastră, unde-n colț

Luceafărul așteaptă.

Privea în zare cum pe mări

Răsare și străluce,

Pe mișcătoarele cărări

Corăbii negre duce.

From ‘neath the castle’s dark retreat,

Her silent way she wended,

Each evening to the window seat

Where Lucifer attended.

And secretly, with never fail,

She watched his gracious pace,

Where vessels drew their pathless trail

Across the ocean’s face.

—translation by Corneliu M. Popescu,

quoted in Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, p. 113. London etc.: Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0-415-25004-8


Hyperion senses her attention and gazes back, and, although a non-physical entity, also begins to desire her company. Sliding through her window when she is asleep, he caresses Cătălina as she dreams of him. In one such a moment, she moans for him to “glide down upon a ray” and become her betrothed. Urged on by this command, the Morning Star hurls himself into the sea, reemerging as a “fair youth”, or “handsome corpse with living eyes”.

Returning to Cătălina while she is awake, Hyperion proposes that they elope to his “coral castles” at the bottom of the sea; this horrifies the Princess, who expresses her refusal of a “lifeless” and “alien” prospect—although she still appears bedazzled by his “angel” looks. However, within days she returns to dreaming of the Morning Star and unconsciously asking for him to “glide down”. This time, he appears to her a creature of fire, offering Cătălina a place in his celestial abode. She again expresses her refusal, and compares Hyperion’s new form to that of a daimon. In this restated form, her refusal reads:

— „O, ești frumos, cum numa-n vis

Un demon se arată,

Dară pe calea ce-ai deschis

N-oi merge niciodată […]”

“You are as handsome as in sleep

Can but a d[a]emon be;

Yet never shall I take and keep

The path you show to me.”

—translation by Leon Levițchi, in Prickett, p. 237 (using “daemon”); in Săndulescu, p. 16 (has “demon”).


Cătălina is not interested in acquiring immortality, but asks that he join the mortal realm, to be “reborn in sin”; Hyperion agrees, and to this end abandons his place on the firmament to seek out the Demiurge. This requires him to travel to the edge of the Universe, into a cosmic void. Once there, the Demiurge laughs off his request; he informs Hyperion that human experience is futile, and that becoming human would be a return to “yesterday’s eternal womb”. He orders Hyperion back to his celestial place, obliquely telling him that something “in store” on Earth will prove the point.

Indeed, while Hyperion was missing, Cătălina had found herself courted, then slowly seduced, by a “conniving” courtly page, Cătălin. The poem’s “tragic denouement allots each of the three lovers their own sphere with frontiers impossible to trespass.”[1] As he resumes his place on the firmament, Hyperion catches sight of the happy couple Cătălin and Cătălina. She gazes back and calls on him, but only as a witness to, and good-luck charm for, her new love. The last two stanzas show Hyperion returning to his silent, self-absorbed, activities:

Dar nu mai cade ca-n trecut

În mări din tot înaltul

— „Ce-ți pasă ție, chip de lut,

Dac-oi fi eu sau altul?

Yet he no more, as yesterday,

Falls down into the sea;

“What dost thou care, o shape of clay,

If it is I or he?

Trăind în cercul vostru strâmt

Norocul vă petrece,

Ci eu în lumea mea mă simt

Nemuritor și rece.”

You live accompanied by weal

In your all-narrow fold,

Whilst in my boundless world I feel

Both deathless and dead cold.”

—translation by Levițchi, in Prickett, p. 249; in Săndulescu, p. 25.


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Lucifer – Carl Schmidt-Helmbrecht

“Lucifer,” Carl Schmidt-Helmbrecht, 1896. Schmidt-Helmbrecht created this illustration to accompany Paul Althof’s poem by the same name, published in the August 1896 edition of Jugend magazine. The poem describes Lucifer, minding his own business on a beach, when a group of women show up, “screeching” and singing and just generally annoying him. One comes over and tries to kiss Lucifer, and he finds her beauty to be a mockery of him. So, “trembling between hatred and love,” he drowns her in the ocean, laughing and saying, “You angels, sing your praise chorales. The devil saves a human soul!” (Collection: Heidelberg University Library)

Satan Exulting over Eve – William Blake

Year: 1795

Satan hovers in malevolent glory over Eve, who is entwined by his alter ego, the serpent of the Garden of Eden. The uneven, fibrous, opaque color of the ground under Eve distinguishes this area as printed, while the even sweep of the red washes shows that the flames behind Satan are mostly watercolor, a medium William Blake often used because he liked its transparent quality.

Graphite, pen and black ink, and watercolor over a color print

Eve’s Dream – Satan Aroused – John Martin

Artist: John Martin

Title (object)Eve’s Dream – Satan Aroused

Title (series)Illustrations to Paradise Lost

Book 4, line 813; Satan springing up with his shield raised behind his head, grasping his spear, starting back to right, driven from his disguise as a toad at the touch of a spear by Ithuriel who stands on the left with Zephon, while Adam and Eve sleep in the background; illustration to John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. 1825

Mezzotint with etching