{ feuilleton }


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




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 is by Cornelis Galle the Elder after a drawing by Lodovico Cardi (also known as Cigoli), and it’s unusual for showing Lucifer in full rather than the more common partial view of the monster imprisoned in the ice.


The engraving is another of those that depict several events in one image, with the figures of Virgil and Dante shown crossing the plain of ice then climbing down Lucifer’s body; passing the centre of the world Virgil (now carrying Dante) changes direction to account for the reversal of gravity. Climbing a rocky path, they emerge at the foot of Mount Purgatory to find Lucifer’s legs protruding from the stone. The reversal of gravity is one of the more advanced ideas in The Divine Comedy, as is the general idea of a spherical Earth. What Dante doesn’t mention, and few artists show, is Lucifer’s sexless groin positioned at the Centrum Mundi, a detail accounted for here. (Larger version.)


Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The etching and engraving archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Lachman’s Inferno
Hell, a film by Rein Raamat
Mirko Racki’s Inferno
Albert Goodwin’s fantasies
Harry Lachman’s Inferno
Melancholy Lucifers
Maps of the Inferno
A TV Dante by Tom Phillips and Peter Greenaway
The last circle of the Inferno
Angels 4: Fallen angels


Shadowland, a film by Anthony Lucas


I forget who recommended this to me but the tip was probably a result of my recent work with silhouettes on Ishbelle Bee’s book covers. Shadowland (1988) is a short student film which, for the most part, concerns the conflict between stick-figure humans and an army of giant winged insects. It’s not quite a silhouette work in the manner of Lotte Eisner since the figures and decor all show some solidity. Everything is in shadow, however, hence the title. Watch it here.


Brion Gysin record covers


Shots (1977) by Steve Lacy.

Continuing an occasional series about artists or designers whose work has been used on record sleeves. The life and work of Brion Gysin (1916–1986) is the subject of a new exhibition, Unseen Collaborator, that opened last week at October Gallery, London. The gallery page mentions Gysin’s connections to the music world: among other things, it was Gysin’s enthusiasm for the Master Musicians of Jajouka that gave those people and their music global prominence, with a little help from Brian Jones. But there are other connections, whether as a collaborator with Steve Lacy, or as a decorator of album covers. Some of these uses are posthumous but this small collection includes a few releases I’d not come across before.


Troubles (1979) by The Steve Lacy Quintet.


Orgy Boys (1982) by Brion Gysin.

A 12-inch single with Gysin reading from William Burroughs and his own writings. “Songs dedicated to his orgy pals: William S. Burroughs, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Fafa de Palaminy, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg and John Giorno…”

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The art of Aleksandr Kosteckij


This is the kind of fantastic art I like a great deal: nebulous landscapes whose vast forms may be some kind of hybrid architecture; implications of the alien and mystical that retain some ambiguity; dreamlike without slipping into post-Surrealist cliché. Monsieur Thombeau at Full Fathom Five (whose excellent eye I have to thank once again) describes the paintings of Aleksandr Kosteckij/Kostetsky (1954–2010) as being “like Gustave Moreau, Salvador Dalí, and Max Ernst put in a blender and left out in the rain.” I’d place them somewhere between Ernst Fuchs and Bruce Pennington but Moreau’s chimeras are certainly present. You’d think an artist of this calibre with a large body of work would be better known, most of the attention at the moment seems to be on Russian websites. Let’s hope that changes soon.

Update: Thanks to Joe for pointing the way to this dedicated website, something I missed in my haste.

Examples chosen from these sites:
http://vk.com/album-32941665_175452413 (139 images)




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The Nicolas Roeg Guardian Lecture, 1983


More Roegery. The recent BBC documentary about Nicolas Roeg has yet to appear on YouTube but this Guardian Lecture appeared there a few days ago. Roeg was in the news in 1983 following the release of Eureka, a film with a solid reputation today but one which the distributors weren’t happy with at the time. There’s no mention of these problems in this 37-minute interview with the late Philip Strick which ranges throughout Roeg’s career, and even includes some mention of his ill-fated plan to direct Flash Gordon for Dino De Laurentiis. It’s too short, of course, as these things always are, and Roeg has always been a somewhat rambling interviewee, but for Roeg-philes it’s worth a watch. The documentary I’d really like to see again is Nothing As It Seems: The Films of Nicolas Roeg, made the year before by Paul Joyce, and featuring contributions from two key collaborators: Donald Cammell and Paul Mayersberg.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Space
Canal view







“feed your head”


Below the fold


Penda's Fen by David Rudkin