Today, in this edition of things you might not have seen, I showcase artworks (and one animation) depicting Hell. Art, book, movies relating to the other demonic world has always held my captivation. I don’t know what it is about artists thinking about Hell and spending years to draw it, sculpt it, write it that I find compelling. How would you go about depicting the darkest of the dark? Can you imagine creating works that is meant to terrify all that gaze upon it?
Above: The Gates of Hell, a work by French artist Auguste Rodin that depicts a scene from the Inferno, the first section of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. It took him 37 years to complete.
In spite of it all, I find the act of depicting Hell to be a very human thing to do. Odd, right?
I recently came upon an pilot animation called ‘Hazbin Hotel’. Warning: the subject matter is adult and there are a lot of swear words! (my sensitive ears were quite in distress but because of the premise of the show and the unique drawing style I kept watching).
The animation is about the princess of Hell Charlie trying to tackle overpopulation and decimation of Hell denizens in the yearly purge and explosion of turf wars after it. Her goal is to create an environment where those who volunteer can have a chance of reforming to get into Heaven. Voila! Overpopulation problem solved. But this is Hell and the patrons are no saints.
The main character Charlie is empathetic, ambitious and often times, portrayed as being quite delusional in her mission. Alastair, the Radio demon, is another fascinating character in the animation. Though he seems harmless, he is perceived as the most dangerous of all demons (A commentary on social media perhaps?)
The starting song (lyrics and video below) will give you some idea about the style of the animation and the main character’s wistful dreams of saving her demonic denizens:
Lyrics: I’m always chasing Rainbows
At the end of the rainbow there’s happiness
And to find it, how often I tried
But my life is a race
Just a wild goose chase
And my dreams have all been denied
Why have I always been a failure
What can the reason be
I wonder if the world’s to blame
I wonder if it could be me
I’m always chasing rainbows
Watching clouds drifting by
My schemes are just like all my dreams
Ending in the sky
Some fellows look and find the sunshine
I always look and find the rain
Some fellows make a winning sometime
I never even make a gain,
I’m always chasing rainbows
Waiting to find a little bluebird
I hope that this blog post gives you food for thought. Please do share any art, book or movies about the topic that you find fascinating, I would love to hear about it.
As always, I hope that you made a new discovery today that inspires you, be it earthly or otherworldly.