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The APOCALYPSE, HELL AND DEMONS IN MEDIEVAL ART 

Byzantine, Gothic and Northern Renaissance artists represented Christian culture and values. Depictions of the apocalypse, fiery furnace, satan and sly demons reached a fever pitch after the great plague of the mid 14th century. The devil and his crafty minions were often depicted in art, literature  and even songs. According to the Bible, Revelation 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Dieric Bouts damned


"Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed
In one self place, for where we are is hell,
And where hell is must we ever be.”
― Christopher Marlowe

Images of hell, death, demons and false prophets produced during the Medieval era were influenced by the devastating plague that swept across Europe during the mid 1300s.

devil grqagon

In a culture of limited literacy symbolic imagery was vital in enlightening the masses.  Byzantine, Gothic and Early Renaissance paintings are rich in philosophical and Christian symbolism regarding serpents.

The Dragon - the emblem of heathen evil and Satan, the spiritual enemy of mankind. Saint Michael and Saint George are often depicted battling and slaying the dragon symbolizing their triumph over evil.

Snake - symbolizes Satan; the presence of evil, fall of man

The pitchfork and trident  are both symbols of the devil

Snake in a fruit tree - signifies the mans fall from grace as well as  Satan's meddling in the affairs of men.

A snake brazenly slithering across the middle of a thoroughfare or road - symbolizing the False Prophet leading the way to hell.

A devious serpent peeking out of a basket, urn or pot - a spiritual reminder of Satan's presence in unusual places.

devil walking in the road

The Color Red - a symbol of greediness and lust. Denotes sin; sins of mankind, Satan, original sin; temptation, Judas, Harrowing of Hell, The Fiery Furnace, Slaughter of the Innocents, the Apocalypse .

Goat - symbol of the Devil.  Satan is often depicted as a horned and hoofed goat-like creature.

Wasp - symbol of the Devil or his henchmen.  Satan is often depicted as a devilish winged creature. The wasp or yellow jacket is symbolic of Satan's relentless hunt for easily corrupted souls and backsliders.

 
 
 

 

                                                                                         

Historical Names of Satan

The Meaning of Sacred Symbols in  Paintings. Most prominently featured  symbols and their meaning:

Western in Symbols and Signs
    < Western in Symbols and Signs>

Bell

The Cross

Architectural Elements

Fruit

Flowers

The Saints

Colors

Book

Birds

Angels

Insects

Fish

Spider

Animals

The Apostles

Satan

symbols

Sun and Moon

Chalice

The  Serpent

Good Shepherd

Boats

Adam and Eve

Key

Wheat

Household Object

Clothing and Accessories

The Four Evangelists

Mythological Creatures

Weapons

Virgin Mary

Christ

Trees

The Anchor

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