Dark underworlds have traditionally both captivated and frightened humans. Numerous global religions describe these locations in various ways, including horrible descriptions and warnings to anyone who doesn’t follow their teachings.
Hell has captured the imagination of artists, who are known to have created pieces that are related to the theme. Some of history’s finest artists were active at a period when either Protestant or Catholic endeavors were seen as the norm in their culture.
The angels’ and demons’ art and the idea and concept of hell were as widely held in their religion as were the teachings on paradise and other associated ideas. Here is a look at some of the most well-known lucifer renaissance paintings and the inspiration behind the creation of these pieces.
Hell by Hieronymus Bosch
Hieronymus Bosch‘s picture, simply named Hell, is one of the earliest and most well-known devil paintings that addressed the idea of hell. Bosch was a Dutch painter known for his numerous religious-themed pieces.
This 1490 lucifer painting was one of four that the artist created, two of which showed the ascent of man into heaven, and the other two showed his decline into hell. His picture is among the darkest evil paintings from the Early Renaissance era, and the four-part series served as a sobering reminder of the principles of Christian doctrine.
The damned souls are shown in a pool of devils below the demonic entity standing atop the rocky summit in the artwork. And those who had the misfortune of falling into the hole could witness the devils nibbling on their limbs.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Dulle Griet
Pieter Bruegel the Elder produced one of the most original depictions of hell ever produced.
The artist portrayed a very different idea of going to the underworld in his work by showing a renegade lady leading a group of female soldiers into the depths of hell to battle and conquer it while plundering everything that was left.
The satanic painting, titled Dulle Griet (also known as Mad Meg), was created in 1563. The idea of a female warrior hero in Flemish culture was not new; historians refer to them as “viragos.” This demon artwork depicts the vastness of hell as a collection of hills with a reddish-black sky. One lady, Mad Meg, is seen scuttling through the underworld while holding a sword in one hand and a bag of looted items in the other.
Pandemonium by John Martin
John Martin’s Pandemonium, or Paradise Lost, is one of the most realistic demon drawings that shows a spectacular representation of hell.
Martin’s idea that the city known as “The High Capital of Satan and His Peers” serves as the location of the capital of hell is shown in this 1841 masterpiece. The sequence is based on John Milton’s well-known novel Paradise Lost. According to the book, the city was erected in less than an hour, much faster than any man-made edifice.
The inside was populated by horrifying devils waiting to carry out Satan’s will. A lone figure in this devil artwork stands on the edge of what looks to be a blazing river adjacent to a tall palace in this magnificent piece of art. Only the heat and scarlet hue of the burning abyss below are reflected by the walls’ golden sheen, which they do not have.
Jan van Eyck’s Crucifixion and Last Judgment Diptych
One of hell’s most famous paintings also includes images of heaven and Earth in the same piece. The Crucifixion and Last Judgement Diptych is a 1440 painting by Jan van Eyck that depicts the supernatural world.
In this renaissance lucifer painting, which was painted on two concrete panels, Van Eyck aimed to capture the fullness of the spiritual realm. It was thought that a few of van Eyck’s pupils who assisted him in his studio finished the painting.
The crucifixion scenario is shown on the left side of the artwork, with Jesus hanging between two other people who are thought to represent the thieves from the well-known Biblical narrative of the event.
As one Roman soldier pierces the side of Jesus, a mob of bystanders has gathered. On the other side of this angels and demons painting, there is a lovely representation of paradise, followed by a horrifying illustration of hell.
Satan Calling Up His Legions – William Blake
Like most other painters of his day, William Blake often included situations with religious importance in his most famous paintings. For example, his demon painting, Satan Calling Up His Legions, is regarded as one of the most famous depictions of hell ever created since it has a lot of distinctly different aspects.
In Blake’s artwork, Satan, the underworld ruler, gestures to his soldiers atop a rocky outcrop. The demons that can be seen at Satan’s feet and in the distance behind him were also depicted by Blake using a mixture of swirling brushstrokes.
Hieronymus Bosch’s Haywain Triptych
Hieronymus Bosch produced yet another depiction of hell in his works. This 1516 piece, known as The Haywain Triptych, was created on a canvas with two shutters projecting outward and opening to show the observer the complete picture.
From the beginning of creation with Adam and Eve to other subsequent events, the work itself includes diverse scenarios from the whole Bible. For example, the right shutter side of the picture shows a terrifying representation of hell, while the middle section of the artwork shows a scene of conflict and bloodshed.
As we’re seeing, hell and Lucifer have seen significant themes throughout art history. When the church was in power, these works of art had a considerable impact, and as art developed, so did depictions of hell, angels, and demons. Famous paintings of hell continue to influence even today’s more secular day.