Giger's The Spell IV (1977)

leading from

a) Indeed the most obvious thing about this painting is the presence of a Baphomet as painted by Giger based on the 19th century image of a Sabbatic Goat, created by Eliphas Levi. Giger had painted the composition using his gut instinct, and without thinking.

b) On the 12th July 2015, it immediately strook me about this painting, that the way the woman is held up in the air as a pale figure who might as well have been a circus performer doing a show and then it brings me to cast my mind mind back to a scene in Fritz Lang's 1927 movie Metropolis where as a stage set piece, the female robot disguised as a human woman does her dance as the whore of Babylon. Giger's painting was completed in 1977 which would have been the fifty years after Fritz Lang's movie. And so there went the flow of thoughts.  There are seven serpentine forms that would be the serpentine heads of the seven headed beast, the seventh in this case lurks in the very back of the mid right of the painting as several forms merged into one behind the three snakes. However in Giger's paintings the tongues flames streaming out from either side of her seat become transformed into the serpents. In the illustration in the film, it seems as if the two tongues of flame on the left were the horns of the most prominent serpent at the front, and a few of these heads had two horns each. It might have served Giger with the inspiration to imagine a Baphomet taking centre place.

c) And the vast basin that holds the seven headed beast upon which she sits, and one of the bearers who are the seven deadly sins, is a woman exposes a breast. However Giger perhaps, putting its head in the place of Baphomet's own breast and transforms the figure into the imp holding a hand grenade in that place, while sitting on Baphomet's lap

d) The bone framework architecture in that case might be loosely reminiscent of the towering skyscrapers of Metropolis at the side but turned into bone, as can be found in the other paintings of the series. And perhaps the metal girder upon which the Baphomet sits was roughly inspired by the bridges going between the buildings. Angular parts sticking out of the central building could also have set off the association with a pentagram in Giger's mind.

e) Inverted pentagram in Metropolis
Behind the seat of the android, there is a large inverted pentagram in the background on the wall. And also an upright pentagram on the doorway of the house of the man who creates the android

f) Inspired by George Melies' "20,000 leagues under the sea"
The other source of inspiration would have been images from George Méliès ' 1906 movie "20,000 leagues under the sea" with a scene dominated five pointed star and women posing around the picture, some with lower bodies transformed into tentacles ending with fish tails

Source quotes
  1. HR Giger: The idea for the Baphomet came from the guts. I did it quickly without thinking. (Cthulhu Sex 19 2)
g) See also: Giger's The Spell IV references The Master Eye from #3 of The Demon, 1972?


  1. Your postings about Giger are original and refreshing. They always give me something to think about. In this case, I think it's an example of Giger never really getting the in-detail examination he deserved. I think people were almost put off by the originality of his work, and just looked at it and said, "Another of Giger's weird things." As you have shown repeatedly, Giger was an influenced and showed the imprint of those influences as any other major artist would. (One of the elements of art being evidence of knowledge of and appreciation for what has come before in the particular field of art.) Fascinating stuff, need to read it again now.

  2. Well, I suppose very little has been done to take a close look at Giger's work and the way the ideas were coming to him, but although perhaps the people who knew him well and talked a lot about his work with him might have something to say about all this just can't really put their mind to it unless there's someone who's going to film them in a documentary or put their words in a decent magazine. But then I should say that it hasn't been that immediate with Dali's work either, but people are finding ways to work establish patterns and work it out very creatively. But there might be the whole thing that his paintings should be experienced by people in their own way rather than being forced to interpret them in one way or another by any single person. There I am assuming that I've caught the drift of what was going on in his paintings whether he was wholly conscious of it or not and no one seems to be out there to tell me. Maybe it shouldn't be so hard to work out what is going on. Giger obviously liked to play with ideas from outside and often in an interesting abstract way. Then it seems that Giger has talked a lot about his art and ideas and got fed up with saying the same old thing over and over again in interviews where they kept asking the same old questions and by the looks of it very little of what he said got to the public. So perhaps my explorations into his artwork almost seem to come out of an imagined conversation with Giger and it's up to me to faithfully map out my flow of thoughts and when someone else comes to give me a piece of information or at least a clue, make sure that they are being acknowledged as part of the conversation. A lot of the associations that I'm making come up in realisations almost like the detective in the TV series Pysch when he sees something, his mind highlights it and then his subconscious seems to spew out information about what has taken place and then he falsely sells his abilities to the police as a psychic. And perhaps in that way I am learning to trust the value of my own flow of thoughts popping up from the subconscious.