Apr 29, 2014

Why the Devil Has No Penis

When I was a kid at Denkmann Elementary School in Rock Island, my friend Greg, the vampire boy who gave me my first kiss, had a small oil painting on his bedroom wall: a muscular guy plunging headlong from a sky of thundering, blue-black clouds.  Naked, his backside bare, looking angry, not terrified, as he veers toward the dark mass of land below.

I found it disturbing, and also fascinating.  Who was this guy, why was he falling, and why was he so nonchalant about it?

Later, after Greg moved away, I surmised that the painting depicted Lucifer, the greatest of angels in Christian myth, who began a war to dethrone God, and as punishment was cast down to Hell, where he became the Devil.

 John Milton's Paradise Lost presents Lucifer as a tragic figure, striving against oppression even when he can't win.  Others see him as a queer figure, subverting the hetero-normativity of Adam and Eve in the Garden.



I've never found that particular painting -- it must have been an original -- but Lucifer appears in a lot of artwork.  His muscles are drawn in loving detail, every curve and bulge in place.

All but the penis.  He has none (except maybe Jason Lewis, who played Lucifer in the 2007 movie).

Notice the wisp of fabric hiding the Morning Star's manhood Lucifer in the Bower of Adam and Eve (1805), by Stephen Rigaud.





Or Pietro Calvi's muscular, winged statue (1883), with a rock outcropping covering his privates.

William Blake's 1808 depiction is androgynous and sexless, and so are most modern versions, like Michael Creese's Lucifer (2013, below).

Check out Willy Pogany's Faust.

Painters and sculptors who have no qualms about frontal nudity in their depictions of Biblical heroes, epic heroes, Greek gods, famous people, and the guy next door suddenly get skittish when they portray Lucifer, and obscure or erase his sexiest part.

How can we explain the absence of Lucifer's penis?

My suggestions:

1. Because Lucifer is "beautiful," a full set of male sex organs would make him too stunning to bear.

2. His fall from heaven has "unmanned him," left him without male power and potency.










3. Or it moved his penis around to his backside, where it remained ever after as his tail (as we see in this Hot Stuff the Little Devil comic book, it responds readily to the closeness of a romantic partner).

See also: Why Hot Stuff Wears a Diaper.