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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for the {religion} category


Weekend links 267


Black Fever (2010) by Polly Morgan. • “She was something of an Auntie Mame figure for me. We spent years haunting secondhand bookstores in Berkeley, Los Angeles, and New York, talking for hours over ever more bizarre dishes of Chinese Hakka cuisine in a hole-in-the-wall eatery at Stockton and Broadway in San Francisco, watching Kenneth […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {psychedelia}, {religion}, {sculpture}, {typography} | Comments Off




An engraving of Dante’s encounter with Lucifer/Satan at the end of the Inferno. Illustrators of Dante have given us a number of depictions of Dante’s fallen angel—a monstrous beast with multiple wings and three heads; icy blasts from the wings travel through the circles of Hell—but this is one I’d not seen before. The engraving […]

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Weekend links 264


Stonehenge Suite, No.10 (1977) by Malcolm Dakin. • “Part of me always wanted to write a teatime drama. That’s something that I wanted to get out of my system,” says director Peter Strickland. The results may be heard here. In the same interview there’s news that Strickland will be adapting Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {music}, {occult}, {painting}, {religion} | 1 comment »


Lachman’s Inferno


I’ve written already about Harry Lachman’s remarkable melodrama, Dante’s Inferno (1935), but the links to the Inferno sequence are now defunct so here’s an updated one. Lachman was an artist before he became a production designer for Rex Ingram, and later a director in his own right. The French government awarded him the Légion d’Honneur […]

Posted in {fantasy}, {film}, {religion} | 2 comments »




The Barque of Dante (1822) by Eugène Delacroix. More infernal visions. Depictions of Hell aren’t exactly recent but the 19th century saw an increase in Dantean themes, helped, no doubt, by the Romantic taste for violent drama. There are many more such paintings, especially of the doomed lovers Paolo and Francesca whose plight is almost […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {religion} | 4 comments »


Mirko Racki’s Inferno


Mirko Racki (1879–1982) was a Croatian painter whose early work fits the template of allegorical Symbolism even if he was never part of any Symbolist movement. Dante’s Divine Comedy was a favourite subject: these canvases are among the available examples which also include a series of etchings. The painting above showing Charon ferrying Dante and […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {religion}, {symbolists} | 3 comments »


Weekend links 257


The Nine of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith, and the same card from The Ghetto Tarot, a Haitian deck created by photographer Alice Smits and Haitian art group Atis Rezistans. Almost four months after the murders in Paris, Charlie Hebdo continues to be problematic, to use a common epithet. The “p” word occurs with such frequency […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {comics}, {electronica}, {gay}, {music}, {occult}, {photography}, {politics}, {religion} | 5 comments »


La Ronde du Sabbat


This is too late for Walpurgisnacht (although it’s still night at this moment) but the 1st May is Beltane, and this is a very pagan drawing. The artist is Louis Boulanger, a friend of Victor Hugo’s here illustrating one of the author’s poems for Cent Dessins: Extraits des Oeuvres de Victor Hugo, illustrations for Hugo’s […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}, {occult}, {religion} | 2 comments »


Symbolist Temptations


The Temptation of St Anthony (1883) by Fernand Khnopff. This should really be more Symbolist Temptations since Odilon Redon belongs among these artists. Redon may have devoted more of his time than anyone else to the saint’s travails but other artists also took up the theme. Fernand Khnopff seldom depicted religious subjects but his painting—an […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {painting}, {religion}, {symbolists} | 1 comment »


Odilon Redon’s Temptations


Saint-Antoine: Au secours, mon Dieu! (Saint Anthony: Help me, O my God!) St. Anthony and his temptations provide another connection between the Surrealists and the Symbolists via Gustave Flaubert and his phantasmagoric drama. Flaubert’s The Temptation of St Anthony (1874) doesn’t quite stand in relation to the art of the time as does Oscar Wilde’s […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {fantasy}, {religion}, {symbolists} | 2 comments »




Exhibition catalogue. In one of the many recent features about Leonora Carrington I noticed a mention of her Temptation of St Anthony painting from 1945 (see below). This was one of eleven works on the theme submitted by different artists for a competition staged to promote Albert Lewin’s The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947), […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {film}, {painting}, {religion}, {surrealism} | 3 comments »


Number 10: Mirror Animations, a film by Harry Smith


Another Harry Smith film that’s very similar to the one featured here a couple of weeks ago, Number 11, which is also entitled Mirror Animations. Smith wrote a description for this one: “An exposition of Buddhism and the Kaballah in the form of a collage. The final scene shows Agaric mushrooms growing on the moon […]

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Number 11: Mirror Animations, a film by Harry Smith


A very short collage animation from 1956 that Smith later expanded into a version running 12 minutes. The artwork crams a great deal of occult and religious symbolism into its 3-minute running time—alchemy, the Kabbalah, Buddhism, Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet, and so on—while Misterioso by Thelonious Monk is playing. Watching this makes me realise that there […]

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Enki by Melechesh


Another album cover, and this time the artwork is my own, being my third cover for metal band Melechesh. The album won’t be released until February but the record label, Nuclear Blast, revealed the cover earlier this week so I thought I may as well post it myself. See a larger copy here. Note that […]

Posted in {music}, {religion}, {work} | 2 comments »


Weekend links 235


Shadows (1974) by Pawel Nolbert & Lukasz Murgrabia, one of three images recreating Francis Bacon’s Triptych–August 1972. • Breaking the Code (1996), a BBC film by Herbert Wise based on Hugh Whitemore’s stage play about Alan Turing. Wise’s film has been linked here before but it’s relevant again thanks to the release of The Imitation Game. […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {drugs}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {photography}, {psychedelia}, {religion}, {science fiction}, {technology}, {television} | Comments Off


Meyer’s Todtengessängen


The traditional post for Día de los Muertos is a selection of illustrations by Conrad Meyer (1618–1689) for a Dance of Death from 1650. Unlike some earlier examples this book has a specific religious moral, opening with the expulsion from the Garden of Eden and ending with the triumph of Christ over Death. Given that, […]

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Heaven and Hell calendar


Painting from the poster art for The Highbury Working (2000) by Alan Moore & Tim Perkins. Unlike last year, this year’s CafePress calendar arrives on time, its creation being eased by the fact that it’s a reworking on an earlier version. The idea with the previous Heaven & Hell calendar had been to alternate various […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {gay}, {music}, {occult}, {religion}, {work} | 3 comments »


Weekend links 230


Cover art by Arik Roper. Peter Bebergal’s Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll was published this week. Articles about rock music’s occult preoccupations have been a recurrent feature of music magazines, especially around Halloween, but Bebergal’s book is the first attempt at a wide-ranging, full-length study. Despite the subtitle, the […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {cities}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {music}, {occult}, {psychedelia}, {religion} | 1 comment »


The Devil’s Cabaret


Halloween approaches so here’s a frivolous piece of Hollywood Diablerie. The Devil’s Cabaret (1930) was one of several short films made to showcase dance sequences shot for The March of Time, an MGM musical abandoned by the studio halfway through production. The footage from the earlier film is a short ballet sequence featuring a company […]

Posted in {dance}, {film}, {religion} | 9 comments »


The art of Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl, 1860–1933


Ahasuerus at the End of the World (1888). Regular readers will know that I have a fondness for the academic or historical painters of the 19th century if their work is sufficiently grotesque, macabre or fantastical. These paintings by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl push a number of the relevant buttons, especially Ahasuerus at the End of the […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {religion} | 3 comments »



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