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Devil

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

Devil

Artist: R. A. Miller (American, 1912–2006)
Culture: American
Date: n.d.
Medium: Paint on tin
Dimensions:
Height: 23 inches (58.4 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Gift of Bruce Lineker, A.B.’86
Label Text:Over the 40 years that he made art, R.A. Miller created tin incarnations of everything from Elvis Presley to dinosaurs, but the devil was among his most favored subjects. In this example, Miller supplements Satan's typical features-cloven hooves, a snake-like tail, and pointed horns-with details of his own. Devil is personified as a man with hair, human facial features, plus a buttoned-down shirt and pants. The figure's hand is outstretched and his body is in motion, remind us that he is not a man, but rather a demon in pursuit of souls.

Miller was a preacher who used his art as a vehicle for spreading the word of God and warning against earthly temptations. Compared to fellow Georgia native and artist-preacher Howard Finster (also in this exhibition), however, Miller was relatively reclusive. Miller lived on the same plot of land in Rabbittown, Georgia for all of his 96 years and kept a low profile, but his work still attracted mainstream attention. The popular rock band R.E.M. included Miller's metal sculptures and whirligigs in their 1984 music video for their hit single "Pretty Persuasion."
Object number: 2008.11.13