The Devil’s violin is the embodiment of Mozart’s Requiem Lacrimosa. A haunting piece of music that he allegedly never completed. It is believed that he only finished the first couple of bars of Lacrimosa on his deathbed, while the rest is thought to be completed posthumously. It’s a dark, funeral-inspiring composition that’s been heard in countless films: The lament of life. 

This piece of eerie music is the perfect inspiration for a drawing, which is what lead me to the idea for Violin del Diablo. String instruments are synonymous with mystery and melancholy, and some of them are unusual, with the most primal sounds. The violin is more light and airy, compared to the deep tones of a cello. Then, of course, you get the hurdy-gurdy, bowed lyre, and my absolute favourite: the nyckelharpa. Its ghostly notes reach deep within the confines of your soul. In this illustration, however, I opted for a violin. 

Instead of playing the instrument, the arms become the instrument. Disembodied hands play it with a bow carved from bone, and the Lacrimosa plays through it. The strings are nothing but the blood running down the arm. My drawing reflects the incompleteness of the music, starting with definite lines and dark shading that fades into a slight afterthought. The cuts symbolize how time runs out from the moment we are born to our last breath. Life is a precious song that we play, and once it’s done, there’s no replay. 

The title refers to the idea that the Devil could play such an instrument designed to torture His captives. I can imagine tears streaming down His face as He plays the lament of the human’s soul. Even in horror, there is poetry.


Listen to the composition here to get the whole picture:


“If you want to interpret a flower, you can mimic it,

and it will be everybody’s flower, banal, without interest.

Or on the contrary, if you put the beauty of that flower

and the emotions it evokes into your dead body,

the flower that you create will be true and unique,

and the public will be moved.”

– Kazuo Ohno