Satan, San Petronio and Bologna

This image of Satan absorbs what the church wanted to condemn and politically control: not just the pagan background of Europe, but specifically the rural and aboriginal faith in the circularity of nature and the self-regeneration of the whole countryside (that is the regeneration of the means of production themselves). The idea of the eternal return of life – with no divine intervention, no Genesis and no Apocalypse, but rather an alchemic and gastronomic cycle of digestion and regeneration – had to be excommunicated and personified in the pansexual body of a cannibalistic Satan.

This fresco in the church of San Petronio in Bologna, dated 1410, depicts Satan in a fashion quite characteristic of the imaginary of the Middle Ages. The Devil is a gigantic beast devouring human souls. At the same time he is giving birth to them through a second mouth-vagina between his legs, in a circular damnation and movement of ingestion-defecation-rebirth which reminds of the uncanny symmetry of the bicephalous Roman god Janus. 


Scrivi commento

Commenti: 3
  • #1

    Loobs (lunedì, 05 agosto 2019 12:57)

    If you look to the top left of Satan's head you can see a supine Mohammad about to be eaten by a demon. Delicious!

  • #2

    Shane (lunedì, 27 settembre 2021 20:06)

    What is the significance of the kings at the bottom. It has something to do with south of bologna I think the area is is between Suviana and Baigno. I’ve also seen a glyph on a flat piece of metal. This painting was not the first to portray the landscape. The church thought the glyph pagan idolatry. When in fact I believe the glyph I am speaking is of the landscape. I can email a copy of the glyph the painting references.

  • #3

    Shane (lunedì, 27 settembre 2021 20:17)

    Btw the demons head is Bologna... you can figure out where the mouth is. You may giggle. But I would like to converse more about it and show a glyph I came across. I believe it contains pagan symbolism and is still readable today. Along with the warrior shield glyph shows areas of interest. And should be if interest to Italy and it would clear up where possibly Etruscans may have originated. bixlereid@gmail.com