Patrick Bailly-Maitre-Grand Belphegor
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1986 Print Date 1987
Dimensions 17-9/16 x 21-1/4 in. (446 x 540 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Huge extraordinary work. Titled, dated (image and print), editioned (1/5) and signed by the artist in pencil on the verso. From the "Formol's Band" series.
Bailly-Maitre-Grand is well known for his contemporary daguerreotypes and his virtuosity. His contemporary work is simply breathtaking.
In demonology, Belphegor (or Beelphegor) is a demon who helps people to make discoveries. He seduces people by suggesting to them ingenious inventions that will make them rich. As a demon, he is described in Kabbalistic writings as the "disputer", an enemy of the sixth Sephiroth "beauty." When summoned, he can grant riches, the power of discovery and ingenious invention. His role as a demon was to sow discord among men and seduce them to evil through the apportionment of wealth. He is difficult to conjure, perhaps because his sacrificial offering is excrement.
Belphegor (Lord of the Opening) was pictured in two quite different fashions: as a beautiful naked woman and as a monstrous, bearded demon with an open mouth, horns, and sharply pointed nails. According to De Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal, he was Hell's ambassador to France. Belphegor also figures in Milton's Paradise Lost and in Victor Hugo's The Toilers of the Sea.
According to legend, Belphegor was sent from Hell by Lucifer to find out if there really was such a thing on earth as married happiness. Rumor of such had reached the demons but they knew that people were not designed to live in harmony. Belphegor's experiences in the world soon convinced him that the rumor was groundless. The story is found in various works of early modern literature, hence the use of the name to apply to a misanthrope or a licentious person.
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