The devil is in the details: Take a closer look at the controversial sculpture of Lucifer… (photos)

The story behind two very uncommon sculptures

Belgium, the country of waffles, fine chocolate, and hundreds of different types of beer, is also a country of striking landmark sites, most notably cathedrals dated to the Middle Ages.

St. Paul’s Cathedral in the city of Liège, distanced some 60 miles from the capital Brussels, is noted for its statue of Lucifer, the fallen angel. A “tiny” detail: the statue that is there today is not the one originally installed in 1842.

The Liège cathedral was founded in the 10th century and underwent reconstructions from the 13th through 15th centuries. It was not until a 19th century restoration effort that Le génie du mal, or The Genius of Evil saw the light of day. The sculpture is widely known as the Lucifer of Liège in English.

The Neo-Gothic piece was created in 1848 by Guillaume Geefs, a prolific Belgian sculptor of the day, today noted for exploring sexuality and mythology through his artwork.

Guillaume’s 1848 assignment was not an ordinary one. The marble sculpture Le génie du mal was commissioned as a replacement for the original statue installed in the church, The Angel of Death, sculpted by Guillaume’s brother, Joseph.

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