Better to reign in Hell,
Than to serve in Heaven
Lucifer in John Milton’s Paradise Lost
There he is, the fallen angel himself, painfully ensnared atop a beautiful fountain, guarded by gargoyles, in the heart of Madrid’s Retiro Park. John Milton’s Paradise Lost inspired sculptor Ricardo Bellver to create a monumental depiction of the devil in 1877. Both widely acclaimed and highly controversial, the statue is regarded as the only piece of major public art dedicated to the devil.
Anyone bedeviled by the artwork can easily avoid it, as Retiro Park is huge and is only one of many found in the capital city. Madrid has more parkland in its center than any other major European city, and Madrilenos take full advantage of them any time they are free.
These photos are from Retiro Park and the Jardin Botanico next to the Prado.
Totally swooned for the handsome tuxedoed birds. Exotic in my mind, but considered nuisances by many – common magpies. As with the storks earlier in our trip, never recalled setting eyes on them before, which might be lucky as a multitude of legends portray magpies as harbingers – or at least a single magpie – of ill will.
With his theft of glittering objects, the magpie envisioned by Gioachino Rossini in the plot of an 1815 opera almost caused an innocent maid to swing from the gallows. And the magpie’s reputation surely was not enhanced by the inclusion of the overture to signify impending over-the-top violence by Stanley Kubrick in his 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange.