William Poundstone
William Poundstone on Art and Chaos

William Poundstone’s Los Angeles County Museum on Fire

The Devil’s Got a Gun

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The Getty Museum’s “Heaven, Hell, and Dying Well: Images of Death in the Middle Ages” features a rare image of a devil with a gun. Firearms entered Europe via the Silk Road in the late 1300s. They must have been a new and frightening invention when the Master of James IV of Scotland painted this miniature of the story of Dives and Lazarus for the Spinola Hours (1510-1520). Cartoonists and filmmakers are still imagining Hell, but guns have been retired in favor of pitchforks (also seen in the Spinola Hours: Dives is being stabbed and shot).

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