Athanasius Kircher’s Tower of Babel


Here’s a picture whose myriad details I’ve wanted to scrutinise for many years. Lieven Cruyl was the draughtsman and Coenraet Decker the etcher while the picture itself appears as an illustration in Athanasius Kircher’s (deep breath) Turris Babel, Sive Archontologia Qua Primo Priscorum post diluvium hominum vita, mores rerumque gestarum magnitudo, Secundo Turris fabrica civitatumque exstructio, confusio linguarum, & inde gentium transmigrationis, cum principalium inde enatorum idiomatum historia, multiplici eruditione describuntur & explicantur. The book was published in 1679 and, among other speculations, features Kircher’s eye-popping illustration (below) showing how tall the Tower of Babel would have to be in order to reach the Moon. I used part of the big illustration in a cover design for metal band Melechesh in 2006.


The copies here are from a scanned volume at the University of Heidelberg where the pages have suffered slightly from bookworm. But the resolution is high enough to explore a picture crawling with tiny details, from the bristling scaffolding at the top of the structure, and the houses (for the workers?) built on the ramps lower down, to a procession of camels and other beasts being led towards the main entrance. In the background there are smaller towers and a few pyramids (Kircher explored the latter elsewhere in the book), and also a harbour with beast-headed sailing ships. The full-size picture may be explored here.


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Vultures Await


From a Void City to what might be a Vulture City, this is an illustration I produced last September for San Jose psych rock band Vultures Await. I would have mentioned it sooner but the following months were very busy and I was also waiting for the band to make the artwork public. Stylistically, this is another piece of collage Surrealism à la Wilfried Sätty, an illustration approach I’d like to keep developing for a while yet. The forthcoming Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities will have more Sätty-inspired pieces, although my contributions there tend towards the decorative. There is, however, a connection between this piece and the Cephalopod Bride.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Wilfried Sätty: Artist of the occult
Nyarlathotep: the Crawling Chaos

The Epigenesis by Melechesh


This new piece of work, a cover illustration for metal band Melechesh, was still in progress only a month ago but the album in question, The Epigenesis, has been announced so I can post it here. This follows a design I produced for an earlier Melechesh album, Emissaries, in 2006, both of which refer to the Sumerian mythology which powers the band’s music. There’s some vague Parajanov influence in this piece which isn’t the kind of thing that usually extends to the metal world but Sergei Parajanov’s films were one of the reference points the band offered. The suspended carpets at the top left are the most obvious allusion to the director but for the composition as a whole I also had in mind the tableaux scenes he creates in The Colour of Pomegranates and other films.

The Epigenesis will be released on the Nuclear Blast label on October 1st, 2010.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Short films by Sergei Parajanov
New things for October

New things for October


Two new pieces of work appear this month. The cover for the Emissaries CD by Melechesh was something I did earlier this year but the album release was delayed. Melechesh are Sumerian Thrashing Black Metal maestros and their website is here.


And finally this month, Jon Farmer’s book, Sieg Heil Iconographers, arrives from the printers. At 608 pages this is by far the largest book I’ve designed to date. Featuring illustrations and photos on nearly every page, it was a lot of work, so I’m very pleased that Anthony Rowe have done their customary excellent print job. The book is softcover and I was worried that the binding might be too tight to allow for easy reading but it falls open very easily. Savoy will have this on sale later this month, details at their site.