Faust

A man, rendered in warm tones, reclines in the wilderness surrounded by blue wraith-like women. Several female faces depict the phases of the moon.

Faust, Darkness and Light, 1978,

Oil on canvas, 66 in x 100 in

Inspired by Goethe’s Faust, Nabil Kanso’s series of over 100 works created from 1976 through 1986. Kanso published a book on the series in 1997.

In his wide-ranging series, Kanso visualizes the story of Faust, an aging scholar who signs his soul away to the Devil in exchange for limitless wealth, knowledge, youth, and love—at least, during the time he remains on Earth. Beginning with a wager between God and Satan, Faust agrees to eternal damnation if the Devil can satisfy him with life on Earth. With frequent appearances by Mephistopheles, the Devil’s embodiment who collects the souls of the damned and provides for Faust's desires, along with Margaret (Gretchen) who is seduced into Faust’s arms with help from Mephistopheles, Kanso’s work adds rich detail and explores fundamentally important themes through the centuries-old legend.