THE DEVIL: The Archfiend in Art from the Sixth to the Sixteenth Century by Luther Link

THE DEVIL: The Archfiend in Art from the Sixth to the Sixteenth Century

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Our communal obsessions seem to have shifted--at least in the area of supernatural beings: Angels are pass‚, the Devil is ""in."" Andrew Delbanco calls for his resurrection; psychoanalyst Carl Goldberg uses the phrase ""speaking with the devil"" as a metaphor for his work with malevolent patients; Elaine Pagels scrutinizes Satan's roots. Even Philip Roth's Mickey Sabbath (or is it Mickey Sabbat?) bears a striking resemblance to the proud, rebellious, orgiastic Prince of Darkness. And now we are treated to his image in art. Link, a scholar of Elizabethan drama, considers the development of Satan in Western sculpture and painting: the supposed impact of the hairy, horned Pan; the role of the Egyptian dwarf deity, Bes; the addition of black bat-wings in the 14th century, in the work of Giotto. But, according to Link, the Devil never attained the power in visual art that he did in literature. Just as well--he is perhaps a creature who flourishes best in the imagination. But, please--no books about people's personal encounters with the fallen angel.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Abrams