Le Génie du Mal (details)
White marble. St. Paul’s Cathedral, Liége. Guillaume Geefs, 1848.
Le Génie du Mal (installed 1848) or The Genius of Evil, known informally in English as Lucifer or The Lucifer of Liège, is a religious sculpture executed in white marble by the Belgian artist Guillaume Geefs. (…) often refer to the figure as an ange déchu, a “fallen angel.” It is located within the elaborate pulpit (French chaire de vérité, “seat of truth”) of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Liège, and depicts a classically beautiful man in his physical prime, chained, seated, and nearly nude but for drapery gathered over his thighs, his full length ensconced within a mandorla of bat wings. Geefs’ work replaces an earlier sculpture created for the space by his younger brother Joseph Geefs, which was removed from the cathedral because of its distracting allure and “unhealthy beauty.”
(…) is set within an open niche formed at the base of twin ornate staircases carved with gothic floral motifs. (…) the fallen angel sits on a rock, sheltered by his folded wings; his upper torso, arms, and legs are nude, his center-parted hair nape-length. The veined, membranous wings are articulated like a bat’s, with a prominent thumb claw; the knobby, sinewy olecranon combines bat and human anatomy to create an illusion of realism. A broken sceptre and stripped-off crown are held at the right hip.