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Félicien Joseph Victor Rops. 1833-1898.

Satan créant les monstres. 1878. Original soft ground etching over heliogravure base. Ref: Exsteens 788; Rouir 715 ii/ii. Image: 4 7/8 x 7 1/4; plate 7 3/8 x 9 5/16; sheet 12 1/8 x 15 7/16. Series: Sataniques. One of two rare plates intended for Les Sataniques but never released. Soiling in the lower right- and left-hand corners, well out side the image. An outstanding richly-inkled impression printed on simili-japon to produce a rich, dark background tone. Unsigned. An exceedingly rare plate $2,500.

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The image shows Satan ejaculating. At the time, before the discoveries about DNA, men's semen was though to contain fully-formed babies. Women's wombs were thought to be gardens that nourished the already-formed fetus.

Félicien Rops replaced this image upon public release of his set, substituting his rather more discreet interpretation of the same concept entitled Satan semant l'ivraie.

The Sataniques suite of five images is considered the most comprehensive Symbolist statement by Félicien Rops. In these images Rops was free to create his own monstrous world, unencumbered by the existing text of another author. The result was a dark and intense series of works celebrating (in the words of Huysmans) 'that spiritualism of lust that is Satanism', combining sacrifice and sacrilege, to create an entirely new imagery of enduring power.

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Rops was born in Belgium. He settled in Paris in 1874, welcomed by Puvis de Chavannes and Gustave Moreau. He worked closely with Baudelaire. Rops was fascinated by the fantastic and the supernatural, and his themes are frequently Symbolist in kind. The devil, skeletons, the prostitute, and death are the Baudelairian accessories of his art. Huysmans stated that Rops "celebrated that spiritualism of Luxury that is Satanism, and painted, in pages that cannot be perfected, the supernaturalism of perversity, the otherworld of Evil."

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