In fact, what does the prince of darkness look like, the lord of hell that no one has ever seen? The devil in all ages evoked sacred awe and superstitious horror in our ancestors. The church forbade the creation of his images. And the ancient artists themselves, fearing the wrath of Satan, did not dare to paint it. But in the history of mankind there are no prohibitions that desperate heads would not find a way to somehow violate …
Naturally, the image of the devil in the minds of people changed from era to era.
Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, unclean, devil, the quintessence of the world's evil … The Bible simply calls him the Beast, emphasizing the anti-human essence. In the Middle Ages, horns, hooves and a tail, a disgusting appearance were indispensable attributes of the most ancient images of the devil that have come down to us.
Perhaps there was a certain visual incident: the medieval devil inherited the horns, hooves and tail from the ancient Greek satyrs, who were also depicted with horns, hooves and a tail. The difference is that you can’t even call satyrs the masters of evil: the Greeks portrayed them as harmless idlers, drunks, who only did that, that they played pipes around the clock and looked after nymphs on the Olympic lawns …
The natural and great era of renaissance lifted art to an unprecedented height in the history of mankind. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buanarotti also thought about what the devil looks like. And both found their own way to get around the church prohibition and convey to their descendants their vision of the appearance of the devil. The great Florentine encrypted the image of the devil in a group where the central characters were the Madonna and Child. You do not see him, but the devil is here, he is always here! - as if Leonardo said. To see the devil, you need a mirror. Bring the mirror to the figure of the Madonna - and the devil will look at you.
Renaissance … The great sculptor Michelangelo created a brilliant statue, around which art critics are breaking spears to this day. We are talking about the figure of Moses - that is, as it were, Moses, who in fact is not Moses at all. The universal power, cruelty and malice that this figure breathes do not in any way fit with the image of the biblical hero who saved an entire nation from death. And most importantly: small neat horns on the character's head. The last attribute, undoubtedly showing that it is not Moses that is depicted: the devil is depicted as Mikalangelo saw him. Moses suffered innocently? - Sure. It's just that the great sculptor did not find another way to get around the prohibition of the clergy.
Tsaredvorsky, idolatrous nineteenth century. The age of bourgeois revolutions - which means resistance to one-man management. The genius of Russian literature, Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, in a whole series of works turned the people's idea of the devil upside down. The "sad demon, the spirit of exile" did not evoke fear or hatred, it evoked sympathy. Lermontov made me remember that the same Bible asserted that the devil is an angel, albeit a fallen one. This is the beloved son of God, although exiled. It is a rebellious and suffering spirit. Spirit of world sorrow. It is this image of the beautiful rebellious and suffering devil - the Demon - that another genius of Russian art, the great artist Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel, embodied in his paintings based on the works of Lermontov.
And the twentieth century is the century of rethinking values. Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov creates the epoch-making novel "The Master and Margarita", in which the devil again changes his appearance and meaning. Woland from “The Master and Margarita” by Bulgakov is the highest intellect, omnipotent power, noble appearance and … evil in the name of good. Woland punishes evil with evil, violence - violence, literally burning out human abomination. Woland puts God and light above all else. By his devilish means - cruelty and violence - he constantly and invariably fights for the cause of light. He is ironic, witty, and looks like a wealthy gentleman. No horns or hooves.
People are imperfect, but God the Creator should not commit violence against his children. What if they deserve it? If they commit outrages on earth against their own brothers and sisters? If they do lawlessness, violate God's and human laws, the laws of humanity and philanthropy? “They deserve the most brutal retribution. And Woland administers justice. He is, rather, the chief of the secret police of heaven, and not the evil fiend of hell.