This is an intriguing sculpture, mainly because it’s the only one in the world to make the devil its main subject. It might have lost the power to shock now but it was extremely controversial when it was designed in 1878. It remained controversial for many years. Feelings ran high and at one time, there was a plan to erect a statue nearby of the Virgin Mary, to counteract or neutralise the effect of this monument.
No one is really sure why Bellver, the sculptor, chose the devil as his subject. It definitely wasn’t some sort of devil worship and it wasn't a tribute to Satan. Instead it seems that he was inspired by John Milton’s famous Paradise Lost and the story of the devil being expelled from the Garden of Eden.
The sculpture shows the moment when he has been thrown out of Paradise. Beaten and banished, he falls backwards, reeling from the shock. His wings are outstretched one arm is thrown up, defensively to his head and his mouth is open in a soundless scream. Has he just been struck down by God? Has he just landed in hell?
Snakes wrap themselves about his legs and arm and at the base, a series of demon heads hold serpents, snakes and lizards in their claws.