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Saints and Satan, curated by Camille Zimmerman

I began my research by focusing on images of Satan in medieval art, and how they relate visually to representations of Cernunnos. There was a common set of characteristics (fur, horns, claws, humanoid figure) that united all of the depictions of the devil that I found. I chose to only examine images of Satan from areas in which depictions of Cernunnos were found: Paris (The Pillar of the Boatmen) and Northern France (Cernunnos between Apollo and Mercury).  The most famous representation of Cernunnos, the Gundestrup Cauldron, is not included since it falls outside the geographical parameters and was probably buried until 1891 when it was discovered in a Danish peat bog.

During my research, however, I began to notice that there were other aspects of Cernunnos being replicated in medieval art. When you simply look at the mythology of Cernunnos, as the antlered Lord of the Animals, many aspects of his story are borrowed by medieval religious texts such as bestiaries and lives of saints. Deer (often associated with Cernunnos) became symbols of Christian piety in the medieval period; whether they were companions of saints, enemies of the devil, or bringers of religious epiphany. 


Camille Zimmerman