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How the Devil Got His Horns: A Diabolical Tale (2012)

Art historian Alastair Sooke traces the humanization of the Devil figure in medieval art from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries.

Director:

Dominic Gallagher
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Cast

Credited cast:
Alastair Sooke Alastair Sooke ... Himself - Presenter
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Storyline

Art historian Alastair Sooke traces the humanization of the Devil figure in medieval art from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries.

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art history | See All (1) »

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 2012 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Scotland See more »
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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
Rather Pedestrian Chronological Tale of Medieval Art
28 January 2016 | by l_rawjalaurenceSee all my reviews

In this documentary Alastair Sooke visits Venice, Padua, London and other European cultural centers to tell the story of how the Devil took human form in medieval art.

Tracing a line of development from the tenth to the fourteenth century, he shows how artists in the earliest period did not approach the Devil as the incarnation of evil; sometimes they represented him as an attractive figure. It was only when worshipers wanted to emphasize God's goodness that they realized they had to have an opposite for comparison, and hence began to represent the Devil in the form we know of today.

Sooke is very good at tracing the socio-political associations of many paintings; they were not just there to be admired, but taught moral lessons to a largely illiterate public. Art was the main medium of its time, apart from stories, intended for churches where most citizens went to pray at least once a week.

Sometimes the narrative becomes a little repetitive - and we tend to see rather too much of Sooke's footwear as he pads up and down the naves of various churches - but the program offers an insight into the power of art as a communicative medium.


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