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  • Writer's pictureRabid Crow

The Bishop and The Beast - reworked

This strange medieval-themed but renaissance-styled painting always intrigued me. It was created around 1482 by artist Michael Pacher as part of a "Church Fathers" altarpiece for the chapel at Neustift, a Catholic monastery home to the Augustinian order. It shows a scene from "The Golden Legend" in which St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, meets the Devil and is shown a book of the sins of man only to discover his own name in it. I have always been strangely delighted by this image of a Bishop having a chat and transacting some business with Satan in the middle of a street someplace. The Christian Church has often tried over the centuries to market itself as the enemy of Satan, defending humanity from his evil designs to capture their souls. The reality of course, is that Anton LaVey was right when he wrote that Satan is the best friend the Church has ever had as he has kept it in business all these years. Additionally, we know there have been even more cozy interactions between priests and demons over centuries. In the book, "Magic in the Middle Ages," historian Richard Kiekheffer has exposed mounds of documentary evidence that medieval Catholic clergy were engaged in illict trade in tomes of demonic spells and ritual magic.

I am extremely happy to have now completed a full restoration and some significant recrafting of this 500-year-old work. The original was painted on wood and was roughly square. I was able to digitally repair numerous damaged areas and reframe it just a bit so that my resulting derivative version of the old work was high enough quality to be a beautiful and engaging piece of wall art. To buy it CLICK HERE.


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