Devangelic - XUL

Oil on wood panel painting for Devangelic's 4th studio album, XUL.

"Xul" is originally a Sumerian word used to denote the "Evil" and this is the main topic of the album's concept. Basically an introspective journey in which the human being, since his appearance on Earth, is forced to face his own inner demons; evil seen as a representation of the "darkness" and the duality of man, who tries to exorcise his own negative emotions.

The giant depicted here is inspired by the demon Humbaba, guardian of the Cedar Forest, who features in the Epic of Gilgamesh. While there is no solid indication he was necessarily divergent from a human in form, he appears to Gilgamesh in dreams foretelling their confrontation in various symbolic, non-anthropomorphic guises meant to highlight his power. In addition to this, sculptures exist depicting his face inscribed in a coiling line of entrails, generally associated with ancient divination via viewing the intestines of a sacrificial animal. The grim omen of Humbaba's face emerging from animal guts was a compelling basis for this design. There is also mention of his face shapeshifting and I had the vision of a multitude of eyes restlessly emerging from between the folds of intestinal flesh.

In the story, Gilgamesh and his companion Enkidu defeat then kill Humbaba showing no mercy, which greatly angers the Gods. The guardian of the cedar forest was just doing his job after all. Who is the real monster here? Relating back to the album concept, the imagery I was exploring here represents the monstrosities and horror of which man is capable reflected back on himself.