Demonic death

Jacob Rueff De conceptu et generatione hominis (1554)

In an important shift related to the theology of sin, the Devil rather than Adam or Eve, is held chiefly responsible for original sin and its mortal fruit.

Accordingly, from the Middle Ages, Death is increasingly imaged as the Devil incarnate but the Devil is notoriously protean, adapting himself to whatever role serves his purpose.

In paintings such as Bosch’s Death of the Miser, all three — demon, angel and Death can be seen in the same room. The concept of the folk Death is vastly different to the bringer of divine retribution, it is Death measured on a human scale.

Among neoclassic artists, Death has been also represented as an angel, the Angel of Death.

In Eastern Orthodox theology, death is one of humanity’s three enemies; the other two are sin and the devil.