Angels 4: Fallen angels


The Treasures of Satan by Jean Delville (1894).

Some more favourite paintings today. Jean Delville produced a splendidly strange portrayal of Satan as an undersea monarch lording it over a sprawl of intoxicated, naked figures. When Savoy Books decided to put together the definitive version of David Lindsay’s equally strange fantasy novel, A Voyage to Arcturus, I felt this was the only painting adequate to the task of filling out the cover. That was in 2002; a year later Gollancz used the same painting on the cover of their Fantasy Masterworks paperback edition of the book. Lindsay’s book has been plagued by bad cover art for years so we managed to raise the bar for future editions. Delville was one of the great painters of the Symbolist school, all his work is worth looking at.

There are numerous representations of Lucifer but Franz Stuck’s is especially striking and apparently caused viewers to cross themselves before it when it was first exhibited.

Gustave Doré’s tumbling figure is from his illustrated edition of Paradise Lost, a book full of armour-clad, spiky-winged angels. Some of those wings have even found their way into my work via the miracle of Photoshop.


Lucifer by Franz Stuck (1890).


Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré (1866).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The etching and engraving archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Thomas Häfner, 1928–1985

9 thoughts on “Angels 4: Fallen angels”

  1. Idle curiosity.

    Are there any good lesbian angel images out there?

    “She looks just like an angel
    But she sings so out of tune” – Declan MacManus


  2. Lesbian angels? Even the usual Victorian subterfuge would have had trouble with that subject. There’s plenty of lesbian-themed art, of course (usually by men), but the only angelic picture I can think of that comes close is Haloes by the rather obscure Louis Welden Hawkins:

  3. As with the angels, there are many devils and demons in art so I think I may leave those for another themed posting.

  4. Not sure what my first posts for 2007 will be just yet.

    Xmas in the southern hemisphere must be strange since so much of the iconography is focussed around snow and cold weather. We don’t get much snow here but it’s cold at least.

  5. I first saw the Delville image in a fantastic book ‘Dreamers of Decadence’ by Phillipe Julian (Phaidon), mainly because it had a print of ‘The Disintigration of Faith’ by Jan Toorop, which was used on the cover of my favourite LP of all time (For Madmen Only by UK Decay in case you’re wondering).

    I allready liked some of Pre-Raphaelite stuff (Burne Jones, Rossetti), but this book got me into the Symbolists and then the Decadents in a major way.

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