Franz von Stuck ( German, 1863 - 1928 )
- c. 1890
Franz von Stuck's Lucifer is the pendant to his first masterpiece, The Guardian of Paradise, an image of a heroic, idealized youth. Von Stuck etches a strong, sculpted man cloaked in dark wings encircled in shadow. The antithesis of purity, Lucifer's tense posture and possessed, penetrating eyes aggressively confront his beholder. But his furrowed brow and head resting on hand, possibly referencing Auguste Rodin's introspective Thinker, betrays an afflicted soul who is both pitiful and intimidating. Von Stuck's medium, etching, is able to capture the bald white of the devil's eyes and the encroaching darkness with stark immediacy. In 1891, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, who purchased the larger oil painting, told von Stuck that some of his courtiers piously crossed themselves whenever walking past the terrifying portrait of personified sin.
Britanny Luberda, DMA label copy, 2010.