Friday, June 23, 2017

Friendly Demons Frolic in a Satanic Farandole: Book Review of "Graven Images: The Art of Woodcut," by Jon Crabb for British Library Publishing

Below is a book review by Morbid Anatomy's Laetitia Barbier for the soon to be released Graven Images: The Art of Woodcut. All above images are drawn from the book; you can find out more about it--and order a copy of your own!--by clicking here.
- A donkey with binoculars reads the Bible to a crowd of tamed animals.
- Two bishops casually converse as hundreds of rats climb over them, some emerging from their sleeves.
- A coy sphinx pounces, bare breast first.
- Friendly demons frolic in a satanic farandole.
- A rat studies alchemical grimoires in the quiet study of a library.
- Drunk lions fist fight at the table of a tavern.

Although this aberrant enumeration could pass for, as the song goes, "a few of my favorite things," these visions are a few colorful examples drawn from Jon Crabb's incredible new book Graven Images: The Art of Woodcut, to be launched August 1by British Library Publishing.

Hundreds of woodcuts, which pages after pages let us time travel through the 16th and 17th century, when the printing process democratized, allowing knowledge, folklore and superstitions to circulate in every hands. These exquisite woodcuts exist in a grey area where dreams and nightmare mingle, a place in which humour, fear and mysticism seems to coexist without paradox. It's been a while I've not be stunned by so much fantasy, so much depravity. The book seems to be a series of flyers inviting you to "Party like its 1666". My only wish might be to have every single images of this book tattooed on my body, so if luck turned sour and I loose all by belonging, the tremendous joy I had to meet these creatures will be with me for the rest of my life.