Depictions of Satan – Animal Elements

The Occult in Art has an entire section dedicated to the depiction of Satan, and explains why he is almost always some sort of half-human hybrid. Apparently, ever since Dante described him in the Divine Comedy, his impression of the devil’s appearance has remained in the public consciousness. Additionally, at the time of the majority of these paintings, the idea of a half-human, half-animal individual was considered the most repulsive type of ugliness around, so it was applied to all things evil – Satan himself, as well as demons and witches’ familiars.

The horns themselves, as well, hold significance: they are derived from the image of a half-crescent, thereby associating any horned or antlered animal with the devil. Goats especially get this, due to their association with the pagan Pan.

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