1. An erudite theologian
“Satan and Death with Sin Intervening” -the art work we used in the printing this time is painted by the German-Swiss artist Johann Heinrich Füssli in 1802. From an early age, Füssli studied and practiced painting from the collection of his father, Johann Caspar Füssli, a portrait painter, but his father wanted him to become a theologian. Later he studied the humanities under the Swiss poet Johann Jakob Bodmer and philologist Johann Jakob Breitinger. This experience allowed him to become familiar with languages and classical literature, and under the guidance of his teacher Johann Jakob Bodmer, he developed his interest in the writings of Shakespeare and the English poet John Milton. The painting we used in this printing this time is "Satan and Death with Sin Intervening", one of the 47 illustrations created for Milton's epic poem "Paradise Lost".
2. “Satan and Death with Sin Intervening”
“Paradise Lost" is an epic poem by the English poet John Milton, which tells the story of the time before Adam and Eve were born.
On the left side of the painting is the fallen angel Lucifer, who became the devil named Satan. After hearing about the paradise created by God, he was filled with anger and tried to destroy it, so he flew through the chaos to the gates of paradise. However, the guarding of the gate is “Sin”, the daughter of Satan. She is the creation of Satan's spirit, and then "death" was born between them, existing as a black shadow without substance, but Satan did not know it. The scene depicted in this painting is the moment when "Sin" jumps in between Satan, who attempts to kill their son "Death" and tries to stop the battle between the two loved ones.
3. The Sublime Satan, a new era of art with death and romance
In Füssli's paintings of Paradise Lost, Satan was brought into the limelight and became the main character. In Milton's poem, the ending was the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. As the creations of God , none can resist his absolute power, and we have no choice but to endure the punishments or hardships inflicted upon us. But Satan, the fallen angel who became a demon, was seen as the only heroic being who would rebel against God in this desperate situation. Therefore, Füssli may have been the first to give Satan a noble personality and depict him as a tragic and majestic rebel in his paintings. Since then, Füssli's work has greatly influenced many painters such as William Blake, and Gothic horror writers such as Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) and Edgar Allan Poe, who mixed death, horror and romance in his novel.