The Devil is in the Details
“The Devil is in the Details“
The idiom “the devil is in the detail” refers to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details. “The devil is in the detail” derives from the earlier phrase, “God is in the detail;” expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e. details are important. This original idiom has been attributed to a number of different individuals, most notably to German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) by The New York Times in Mies’ 1969 obituary, however it is generally accepted to not have originated with him. The expression also appears to have been a favorite of German art historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929), though Warburg’s biographer, E.M. Gombrich, is likewise uncertain if it originated with Warburg. An earlier form “Le bon Dieu est dans le détail” (the good God is in the detail) is generally attributed to Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880).
More recently, the expressions “Governing (is) in the Detail(s)” and “(The) Truth (is) in the Detail(s)” have appeared.