Throughout history, artists have grappled with the problem of depicting clearly and forcefully the principles of evil and suffering in human existence. Religion, folk beliefs and individual imagination, independently or in fertile combinations, have provided powerful visual realizations of these themes. Collected in this volume are a wealth of symbols and scenes portraying the appearance, history and activities of the Devil, the embodiment of temptationand vice in the Christian world; his host of demon helpers; the human witches who have placed themselves in his service; the awesome phenomenon of death (according to the Bible, a punishment for yielding to the Devil’s blandishments); the tortures of Hell and the terrors of the Last Judgment. Centuries of artistic endeavor, particularly in graphics, are represented here. Alongside the ingenious concepts of many little-known and anonymous creators, figure works by Dürer, Holbein, Rembrandt, Cranach, Baldung Grien and other titans. The concluding chapter, “Religio-Political Devilry,” shows how inventively artists at different times in the past have used some of these motifs for their own contemporary purposes of protest or publicity. It is hoped that the scores of bold images in this volume, over and above the esthetic delight they afford, will offer many new suggestions for further work. ***244 illustrations
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