For their upcoming exhibition opening this Wednesday, the Cantor Center for the Arts at Stanford University explores of the fascination and evolution of artists’ depictions of the devil through the past 500 years. This comes as the Anderson collection receives a work from Jackson Pollock, which touches on the subject.
The exhibition is titled Sympathy for the Devil: Satan, Sin and the Underworld, and it feature of over forty works, many of which are primarily from the Cantor collection. The works spans from the 16th century to the 21st century. According to Bernard Barryte, Cantor’s curator of European art, the exhibition explores an artist’s freedom in how to depict the devil, one that would go beyond what is taught in the Old Testament and Christian gospels.
For example, as the Renaissance came around, many artists depicted the devil as generally a horned beast (as in Cornelis Galle’s Lucifer), but also a dark romantic hero (as is Jean-Jacques Feuchére’s Mephistophelis). But by the 20th century, the graphic representation of the devil is largely out of view, and in place is the depiction of hell in the world, as well as those who would be responsible for the horrors of modern society. One example is Jerome Witkin’s painting The Devil as Tailor, which touched on the ills of the Holocaust.
Sympathy for the Devil features works from Albrecht Durer, Hieronymous Bosch, Jacques Callot and Max Bechmann. The exhibition is on view until December 1st. Log on to museum.stanford.edu for more information.