Artwork - Satan touched by Ithuriel's Spear while whispering evil dreams to Eve

Search collection
Advanced search
Artwork
  • Title: Satan touched by Ithuriel's Spear while whispering evil dreams to Eve
  • Artist: John Callcott Horsley
  • Date: 1848 [Date painted]
  • Medium: Fresco painting
  • Categories: British history
  • Catalogue number: WOA 2885
  • Description: Illustrates a scene from Milton's 'Paradise Lost', Book IV: Satan touched by Ithuriel's Spear while whispering evil dreams to Eve.



    John Milton's epic blank verse poem Paradise Lost, was originally published in 1667. It tells the story of Man's Fall. In the episode illustrated here, Adam and Eve lie naked and asleep on their nuptial bed of flowers in the Garden of Eden, “lulled by nightingales”. Satan, 'squat like a toad', whispers 'dreams of evil' into Eve's ear, 'distemper'd, discontented thoughts, Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires'. Hovering above are the two cherubim sent by the archangel Gabriel to seek out Satan, Ithuriel and Zephon, shown with his adamantine shield. Ithuriel lightly touches Satan with his spear, destroying his disguise. The continuing menace of evil is indicated in the serpent lying coiled in the foreground among the lilies.





    Originally named the Poets Hall the Upper Waiting Hall was a hotbed of activity between 1848 and 1854 as six artists competed with each other to paint scenes from some of Britain's greatest literature. The Hall was a space in which artists without previous experience in the technique could develop and learn the medium of fresco whilst observed by the Fine Arts Commission. The artists were selected having displayed work in the Westminster Hall exhibitions. As a result of a number of technical problems, the paintings were subject to damage and decay to such an extent that in 1894 they were hidden from view behind wooden panelling. Conservation has since taken place saving the paintings and allowing them to once again be viewed and appreciated.

  • Copyright:

    Full copyright information