Saturday, October 23, 2010

31 favorite monsters: the Helmeted Bird Demon

Heironymus Bosch was a 14th century surrealist most famous for his hauntingly bizarre depictions of hell, particularly in his triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. With the human mind's natural fascination for darkness and horror, the hell panel has become more iconic and well known than the two paintings it was attached to, and was even used as a hellscape in The Simpsons. Of all the outlandish critters frolicking in his grisly netherworld, however, my favorite Bosch creation is this little guy from the bottom corner:

There's something about the combination of undersized bird's head, pudgy human legs and sinister-looking helmet that comes out much more disturbing than any of these traits rightfully should be, and the fact that this otherwise whimsical little critter wears a severed human foot just for the hell of it is especially unnerving. Our more popular image of a "demon" as some bull-horned, hooved ogre or clawed succubus may look a lot more "dangerous," but Bosch's creations look like a sickly infant's delirious nightmares. Their absurdity contributes to a sense of wrongness that just screams evil in a way that snarling imps and red skinned satyrs can never achieve.

...And I don't even want to know what's going on with the slutty pig-nun and the paperwork.


Blogger Lump said...

Oh, you had to say that last bit, didn't you? And I've forgotten what is truly with the pig-nun...all I remember is, it's pretty likely the guy she's making sign something is a monk or something.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well CLEARLY the pig-nun is pestering him into signing up to be in Hell's glorious kiwi army, of course.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Bird of Paradise said...

The helmeted bird creature its long beak poking through the visor

12:52 PM  

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