Remarkable Demon Paintings In The History Of Art

Remarkable Demon Paintings In The History Of Art

Like a man peeking across the fence at his neighbor’s lawn, human curiosity has often wandered beyond our realm into the other worldly. With several theories about aliens, fairies, ghosts, and other mythical creatures, humankind is undoubtedly fascinated with the possibility of a reality separate from their own.

Particularly of interest are entities known as demons. Demons are culturally and religiously recognized as vile creatures responsible for possessing human bodies and wreaking havoc in the human realm. Demons are always portrayed as the very source of evil as opposed to their angelic contemporaries.

With many artists in history being fascinated with the idea of the supernatural, these mysterious entities have often found their way into art. This article will delve into some of art history’s most exciting demon paintings.

Lucifer by Franz Von Stuck

What better way to start the list than with the king of demons himself? Von Stuck was a German painter best known for his intimidating mythological scenes. Some of these famous works include his widely acclaimed 1892 masterpiece, The Sin, amongst others.

Von Stuck created Lucifer in 1890 as part of his dark monumental period. The oil-on-canvas depicts the devil as a man-demon rather than a monster. He is seated with one hand under his chin, propping up his head as his elbow rests on his knee. He seems perfectly human save for the unnatural glow of his soul-piercing eyes and the faint appearance of large black wings that almost blend into the dark setting.

Although Stuck’s sinister masterpiece instills terror in its viewers, his choice of a man-demon also presents evil in human form, forcing the viewer to ponder the human element of evil. The memorable lucifer painting is currently on display at the National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia, Bulgaria.

The Angel of Death by Evelyn Pickering de Morgan

De Morgan was an English painter who employed various painting styles in her works. Her paintings typically featured female figures in allegorical and mythical themes. Scholars have characterized her work as spiritual and feminist. Her notable works include Night and Sleep and Helen of Troy, to name a few.

The artist also often dabbled with the theme of death in her works. It’s the central theme in this particular 1880 oil-on-canvas painting. The painting reflects her belief that death is a messenger to be received, not feared. The death Angel is portrayed as a calm and harmless figure who comforts the troubled woman he has come for. Cloaked in black with grey hair peeking through, he holds his signature scythe and black wings.

The landscape behind the woman is arid and harsh, while the landscape ahead is fertile, signifying that death is taking her to a better place. The painting is currently in the De Morgan Collection, a collection of works by Evelyn and her sculptor husband, William.

Wild Chase by Franz Von Stuck

A master painter of the supernatural, Von Stuck, appears on our list again. This time, his Nordic-inspired painting depicts Wotan, an old Germanic deity who is sometimes confused for the Norse god Odin.

The 1889 oil-on-panel painting is dark and somewhat terrifying. It depicts Wotan, a personification of death in German mythology, atop a black horse on a foggy night. The god leads a parade of dead souls through the fog as his red cape billows behind him.

Many have noticed the striking resemblance between Von Stuck’s Wotan and German warlord Adolf Hitler. Interestingly, the painting was produced the same year Hitler was born, causing some to raise a few suspicious eyebrows. However, others believe Hitler may have modeled himself after the painting’s subject as he was a Von Stuck fan. It is housed at the Staedtische Galerie, Germany.

The Nightmare by Johann Henry Fuseli

Fuseli was a Swiss painter who spent most of his artistic career in England. Many of his paintings depict paranormal scenes, reflecting his fascination with the supernatural.

Fuseli’s most notable work is The Night Mare, a 1781 oil-on-canvas painting depicting a nightmarish scene. In the painting, a woman is fast asleep in a sprawled position. You can also see her arms limply dangling over the bed’s edge as if dead. A sinister-looking creature, a demon, sits on top of her as another demon’s ghoulish head, shaped like a donkey, peeks through the curtains behind her.

Based on the masterpiece’s title and the symbolism of the incubus demon sitting on her, it has been concluded that the demon artwork also shows the content of her nightmare. This is in addition to portraying the dreaming woman. The scene is rendered in deep shades of red and black, with the dark tones fading into the void-like background. The painting is displayed at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan, USA.

St Michael Defeats the Devil by Eugene Delacroix

Delacroix was a prolific French painter famous for leading the French Romantic Movement. Often inspired by the Venetian Renaissance, his works were characterized by their dramatic and romantic elements.

The artist was commissioned in 1849 by the Church of Holy Angels in Paris to produce specific images for the church. Unfortunately, the assignment took Delacroix 12 years to complete due to his failing health, and when he finally finished the project in 1861, St. Michael Defeats the Devil was among the paintings.

Because the church is dedicated to angels, Delacroix deemed it appropriate to illustrate the triumphant archangel Michael, defeating the devil, who is painted with wings and a fork in his hand. Today, the image can still be seen on the church’s ceiling.


Many argue the existence of the supernatural, while others are firm believers that this paranormal existence is indeed a reality. Whichever the case may be and whatever your convictions, the fact is that paranormal elements are featured in many works of art, some of which have become immensely famous. And although the arguments may continue, we will all agree that these paintings are truly remarkable.

By Admin

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