Paul Konewka’s Faust


Discovered via the GoetheZeitPortal, these illustrations for Faust by German artist Paul Konewka (1841–1871) date from 1865, although the copies here are from a later edition. Konewka was a silhouette cutter so while these may look like ink illustrations they’re actually paper silhouettes displaying a formidable level of detail and complexity. Whatever the technique, the story itself is immediately recognisable from the characters even if none of the more dramatic scenes are represented. There aren’t many books you could treat in this fashion since the story has to be almost universally familiar; Shakespeare would be an obvious candidate—Konewka subsequently produced illustrations for A Midsummer Night’s Dream—fairy tales (like Arthur Rackham’s Sleeping Beauty), and also Lewis Carroll’s Alice books come to mind.

The copies shown here are from another shoddy Google scan at the Internet Archive but you do get to see all the pages. The Goethe site has better copies of the illustrations.




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Walpurgisnacht (1917) by Amadeus.

April 30th gives me an opportunity to repost this drawing by “Amadeus” which could easily have come from an underground magazine of the late 60s. The works below are some of the many Faust-related illustrations at GoetheZeitPortal, a great resource although it helps if you can read a little German to navigate. This page has more Hexentanz scenes, while the complete series of Franz Xaver Simm’s academic illustrations may be seen here. Over at 50 Watts there’s Stefan Eggeler’s illustrations for Gustav Meyrink’s Walpurgisnacht (1917).


Walpurgisnacht (1897) by Albert Welti.


Walpurgisnacht (1899) by Franz Xaver Simm.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Luis Ricardo Falero, 1851–1896
Weel done, Cutty-sark!

A Scholar in his Study


A Scholar in his Study (detail, 1650–1654) by Rembrandt van Rijn.

Rembrandt produced many etchings throughout his long career, and if he hadn’t also distinguished himself as a painter his etchings alone would have ensured that his reputation survived. For an example of his mastery of deep shadow see St. Jerome in a Dark Chamber (1642) where the solid masses of shade are created by a virtuoso display of cross-hatching.


One etching is reproduced far more often than any of the others, the piece known as A Scholar in his Study, which can also be found labelled The Magician, or simply Faust even though it was never intended as an illustration of anyone so specific. The etching is often used as an illustration for Goethe’s play, of course, understandably when it’s one of the few instances in Western art of a first-rate artist depicting a visible occult event. Prior to the 19th century the depiction of magic in paintings or graphic works was generally limited to either mythological or religious tableaux, or to scenes of generic witchery. Rembrandt’s piece is unusual in showing what appears to be a manifestation of some sort, with a disc of Divine Names either partly concealing or forming the head of a spectral figure. The figure is barely visible in smaller reproductions but this large copy reveals the pair of hands below the disc which are drawing the scholar’s attention to what might be a mirror reflecting the glowing disc. Rembrandt produced a number of paintings and etchings on the theme of the scholar or philosopher in his study but none are as curious—or as popular—as this example. If it wasn’t for over-familiarity it’s likely it would seem even stranger today.


The Angel of the West Window (1991). Design by Tim Gray.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The etching and engraving archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Rembrandt’s vision

Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #12


Continuing the delve into back numbers of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, the German periodical of art and decoration. Volume 12 covers the period from April 1903 to September 1903, and this edition opens with a feature on the French Art Nouveau artist and designer George de Feure. This is followed by more from sculptor Franz Metzner including some of his designs for Germany’s many Bismarck monuments. Earlier volumes of DK&D have featured similar Bismarck designs by other architects but they tend to be as ponderous as you’d expect, the kind of thing which nationalists of the time would have found grand but which to our eyes look either pompous or—at their worst—quasi-fascist. Another feature on artist Paul Bürck finishes the edition. As before, anyone wishing to see these samples in greater detail is advised to download the entire volume at the Internet Archive. There’ll be more DK&D next week.



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Weekend links: the Halloween edition


Goddem with Attendants (1924) by Harry Clarke.

• Some of Harry Clarke’s extraordinary illustrations from Goethe’s Faust can be seen at A Journey Round My Skull. And a reminder for anyone who missed them, Clarke’s Poe illustrations at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

HP Lovecraft – Audio Books, Radio Plays, & Audio Documentaries. Out-of-print recordings and (no doubt) pirate copies of more recent things. I found this page by accident so it was a surprise to see my 1999 Lovecraft portrait used there. I used to own the David McCallum Dunwich Horror, an album with a singularly appalling sleeve illustration.

• Better album sleeves can be found here: Prospective 21e Siècle, a collection of foil designs from 1967. Some of the very challenging music within can be downloaded at the Avant Garde Project archive. Related: Have an electroacoustic Halloween with Ilhan Mimaroglu’s Le Tombeau d’Edgar Poe (1964) and Wings of the Delirious Demon (1969).


Star Trails and the Captain’s Ghost, a photo by Chris Kotsiopoulos at Astronomy Picture of the Day.

• “The horror industry is totally male dominated from its directors to its slashers, and even its bloggers…and I think that needs to change.” Day of the Woman, a blog for the feminine side of fear.

6 of the Scariest Queer Horror Books Ever. I think I’d agree with the commenter in picking The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

• Designer Jonathan Barnbrook (pictured in a graveyard by the looks of things) is interviewed at MyFonts.

A Weird and Scratching Beauty: The Art of John Coulthart and Call of Cthulhu.

Is the Royal Masonic School for Boys the scariest building in Britain?

50-million-year-old insect trove found in Indian amber.

The Café Kaput Samhain 2010 mixtape.

The Groovy Age of Horror.

Monster Mash (1962) by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers.