Who’s Your Favorite Sexy Satan? We’ve Rounded Up 10 of the Best From Art and Pop Culture
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Sexy Satan, scary Satan, sly Satan … do you have a favorite depiction of Satan?
Everyone loves a bad boy, right? From the dawn of time — perhaps literally — people have been fascinated with villains, sinners and the inherent sexiness of the dangerous.
We’re drawn to antagonists, who are often played by heartthrobs like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Game of Thrones or Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther, and who are more often than not written in a more compelling fashion than their hero counterparts. The tragic backstory, the complicated emotions, the chance of redemption … we, as consumers of media, eat this content up because it’s interesting, and because it maybe asks us important questions about our own points of view. It seems we have done this for centuries, tracing back to the Ultimate Villain, an angel who rebelled and fell from grace.
The depiction of Satan has varied through history, time and medium, yet for every portrayal of him that is meant to terrify, there is also an equally seductive version — sexy, pouty, toned.
It makes sense. Wasn’t the Devil’s first act to seduce Eve into eating the apple in Eden? In a way, Satan has to be attractive — it’s an intrinsic part of his character. But … how attractive does he have to be, exactly? What I mean is: how much sexy Satan portrayal is in the spirit of accuracy, and how much of it is in the spirit of absolute horniness?
Here we’ve rounded up 10 sexy Satan portrayals from as early as the 18th century to as recently as today:
1. Satan Summoning His Legions by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1797)
Our first sexy Satan is kind of scary … but also kind of ripped. Practically naked, the imposing, muscular figure depicts a line from Milton’s epic, Paradise Lost: “Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen.”
David Bindman, in The Shadow of the Guillotine, Britain and the French Revolution, writes that it was possible for English artists of this time to consider Satan’s defiance of God as “heroic” and “a model of resistance to a distant and arbitrary power.” You can find Sir Lawrence’s painting at the Royal Academy of the Arts in London, England, whose marketing team seems to understand the appeal of the sexy Satan portrayal. Their website reads: “Come and visit Satan in person…”
2. Fallen Angel by Alexandre Cabanel (1847)
French painter Cabanel was 24 years old when he created this. What was he thinking? Why does sexy Satan have to be so sexy? It looks like he’s looking into my very soul, and I don’t mind.
Cabanel is perhaps most famous for his painting The Birth of Venus, but his depiction of Satan is one of the most memorable in history.
3. Le génie du mal by Guillaume Geefs (1848)
Translated as “The Genius of Evil,” or “The Spirit of Evil,” this sculpture was commissioned in 1837 to be a portion of the pulpit at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Liège, Belgium.
Initially, the commission had been given to Guillaume’s younger brother Joseph, whose design was highly controversial for not representing Christian ideals. Joseph’s version of Lucifer was criticized as being “too sublime”; the press was literally worried that it would distract pretty young women from listening to sermons because of how sexy Lucifer was.
Guillaume’s version was installed in 1848 and is … somehow a sexier depiction of Satan than his brother’s.
4. Fuente del Ángel Caído by Ricardo Bellver (1877)
Set in Retiro Park, Madrid, this “Fountain of the Fallen Angel” is a major tourist attraction of the Spanish capital. It’s not hard to see why. He is dramatic, as all good Satans are, reclining on a rock, naked, with snakes wrapped around his legs.
Much like Sir Thomas Lawrence, Bellver was also inspired by verses from Milton’s Paradise Lost in creating this gorgeous sculpture, which curiously stands at exactly 666 meters above sea level. Creepy!
5. Vincent Price in The Story of Mankind (1957)
The Story of Mankind is sort of exactly what it sounds like, and landed itself a spot in the book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time. Vincent Price, however, has forever had a sinister-but-sexy quality to him not unlike the vibe of Bela Lugosi or Gomez Addams, and he brings that same quality to his portrayal of the Devil.
He is elegant, he is stylish, and he makes you want to keep watching him. (I am contractually obligated to mention here that Bill Hader’s Vincent Price impression on SNL is not only excellent, but also sinister-but-sexy. The author of this article loves Bill Hader.)
6. Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy (1995)
Viggo Mortensen has never not been hot, even when he’s all dressed in black, crouched on a pile of bricks, with his hair slicked back, threatening Virginia Madsen.
“I am the first angel,” he says, with the softest smile imaginable. “Loved once above all others.” It is simultaneously so eerie and so sexy that it’s bound to give you goosebumps. Or heart palpitations.
7. Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
You have Keanu. You have Charlize. Everyone in this film is at their peak sexiest, and the Devil himself is by no means an exception. Al Pacino’s sexy Satan has so much swagger it’s almost impossible not to want to watch him; so much so that his absence is notable in every scene he isn’t in. Yes, you want to see the relationship between Kevin and Mary Ann in their perfect NYC apartment. But you’re also thinking, Where is He? What is He doing? What is He planning?
8. The Works of Roberto Ferri (1978- )
Ferri is a contemporary Italian artist who draws his inspiration from Baroque painters like Caravaggio. His work is impeccable, and his painting of the Fallen Angel in particular (above) proves that our fascination with heaven, hell, Satan and falling from grace is far from over.
Two of his other works — Lucifer (above) and The Son of the Morning — are intensely sexy as well; the latter depiction of Satan depicts a completely nude angel with black wings, sleeping, seemingly at peace. The expression on his face is so boyish and carefree that it perfectly captures what is both so alluring and dangerous about the Devil.
9. American Horror Story’s Michael Langdon (2018)
OK, technically Michael Langdon is not Satan himself but Satan’s son. However, we could not keep him off of our list for obvious reasons, those reasons being that he is … very, very sexy. Again, it must be asked: Why? Why is he so hot? Why cast Cody Fern, who you just want to look at until the end of time?
10. DC’s Lucifer Samael Morningstar ()
Originally created by Neil Gaiman for The Sandman, this Lucifer has gotten tired of ruling Hell and left it to open a piano bar in Los Angeles. He is restless, he is sexy, and he even has his own TV show on Netflix where he’s played by Tom Ellis. The most attractive thing about this depiction of Satan? He’s relatable. What he wants above all else is his freedom — from God and from destiny.
There’s a popular Mark Twain quote: “But who prays for Satan? Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most…?”
Well, we do, in a way. We carve beautiful statues to him, create media in which he is endlessly interesting and unnervingly hot. We portray him in a way that we never portray The Guy Upstairs: sexy, mysterious, addictive. We are so enamored with Satan and all his iterations that we keep depicting him this way — year after year.
Maybe it says something about us that we’re so drawn to the dark, the unimaginable, the seductive. Maybe we’re holding a mirror up to our flaws, to our darkest thoughts, to the tightrope we balance on between breaking the rules and living by them.
Or maybe we’re just really, really horny for Satan.