Sunday, 25 November 2012

Artistic interpretations I

                                                 the devil's trio - Azzazillo, Behemoth (the cat ) and Fagot

Yesterday I finished a book 'Master & Margarita' by Mikhail Bulgakov. Bulgakov's complicated, censored, beloved novel was written mostly in the 1930s, but not published until decades after the author's death. So it made me think of all the different artistic interpretations of Satan we see, or how very different they can be from each other.
What counts as satanic? I can only assume Milton's Satan would give Marilyn Manson the side-eye and that the Satan of South Park would be horrified by Lars von Trier's Antichrist.South Park's Satan is a gentle red giant who dreams of experiencing the innocent joys of Earth like flowers, mountaineering, and gay cruises.

The Powerpuff Girls' Him is mysterious, malicious, and a badass. He's truly scary - with its stylized lines, bold color blocking, and quirkiness. Props to Cartoon Network for taking a chance by allowing a transvestite devil on TV.

' Sympathy for the Devil ' In this 1968 Rolling Stones masterpiece, Lucifer is stylish, over-scheduled, and thinks you suck at guessing games. ( Mick Jagger later on said he wrote the song after reading 'Master and Margarita' )

Hieronymus Bosch, the Dutch painter who lived from 1450-1516, is known most for his extremely detailed, bizarre paintings. The most well known of these is his triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights, and the most well known panel of that triptych is the one depicting Hell. Basically anywhere you look on a Bosch is going to have some crazy stuff going on and nowhere is that more true than this piece. In all the insanity, it's easy to miss the figure in the foreground, generally thought to be the devil/Satan/Prince of Hell (scrawny bird-creature with a cauldron for a crown, eating humans and pooping them out ) . What's interesting about this portrayal of Satan is that while many artists and writers bestow upon him some power and semblance of his former angelic beauty, Bosch condemns him to the same humiliations and tortures as his subjects. This devil has no wry, bad-boy appeal, only misery.

In Doctor Faustus (1604), by the English dramatist Christopher Marlowe, Mephistopheles achieves tragic grandeur as a fallen angel, torn between satanic pride and dark despair. In the drama Faust (Part I, 1808; Part II, 1832), by J.W. von Goethe, he is cold-hearted, cynical, and witty—perhaps a more subtle but certainly a slighter creation. At the end of Goethe’s drama, Faust’s soul escapes from Mephistopheles while he is making improper advances to the angels that have come to rescue it.

There's a movie 'Master & Margarita ' made in 1972, and it was filmed on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia and Italy. I preferred the book though. 

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