“The statue was originally a commission for Geefs’ younger brother Joseph, who completed it in 1842 and installed it the following year. It generated controversy at once and was criticized for not representing a Christian ideal. The cathedral administration declared that ‘this devil is too sublime.’ The local press intimated that the work was distracting the ‘pretty penitent girls’ who should have been listening to the sermons.” – Color Addiction
The original version, shown above, was thus removed and replaced with the revised version below.
This version included other symbols of Lucifer, including the Forbidden Fruit (of which a bite is missing), a broken scepter, and chains at his ankles.
As a travel writer observed in the modern era, the statue “is so successful that Satanists regularly come to meditate at its feet: enough to incur damnation, indeed; its excommunication is being considered.”