Prince des Ténèbres, Porteur de lumière : Une exploration des représentations du Diable en tant qu'ange déchu en France au XIXe siècle




Walker, Emily

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In this study, I explore four representations of the Devil as a fallen angel in nineteenth century France in order to better understand the way in which the artists at this time used the symbol of the Devil to express their viewpoints on the various social, political and cultural changes in France. In the first chapter, I provide a survey of the artistic development of the Devil, from his angelic roots in the Old Testament to his near disappearance during the Enlightenment. I examine the semantic difficulties when discussing the Devil, as well as the current literature on his philosophical, theological and cultural significance. The second chapter is dedicated to an in-depth analysis of the four works in which I situate the image within the artist’s larger body of work and then examine the physical representation of the Devil, the landscape in which he is found and the transitory moment of the fall depicted. In the third chapter I provide a historical context for these representations and demonstrate the way in which they reflect the political and cultural agitation in France at the time due to the multiple revolutions, changes in governing structure and advances in science and technology. Through this exploration of these four representations, I propose that the Devil provides unique insight as to the ongoing artistic conceptualisation and perceptions of the state of humanity in an increasingly modern world.



Devil in art, Diable en art, nineteenth century France, Alexandre Cabanel, Gustave Doré, Odilon Redon, Jean Paul Laurens, représentations artistiques du Diable