Virgineum vultum  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



The virgineum vultum is a mythological creature which combines the head of a young woman and the body of a serpent or lizard. The mixed creature derives from one of the medieval scholastic commentaries on Genesis by Peter Comestor, but is ultimately to be traced back to Bede and Vincent of Beauvais, in whose work it is first described.

In the visual arts, it is most famously depicted in the left panel[1] of Hugo van der Goes's Fall of Man and Lamentation. There, it is a lizard-like, shimmering chimera, a demon that clings to the tree of life to keep itself upright. The similarity with the face of Eve is unmistakable.


  • Virgineum vultum habens: the woman-headed serpent in art and literature from 1300 to 1700 (1981) by Nona Cecilia Flores
  • "for Peter Comestor's statement that the Devil chose the shape of a serpent with a maiden's face (“elegit etiam quoddam genus serpentis virgineum vultum habens”). Peter seems to have been the first to use this idea in his Historia scholastica"--Satan (Harold Bloom)

List of images

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Virgineum vultum" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools