SeeStan ChapLee

Monday, January 27, 2014

Imago Mundi



The Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini, an Italian architect and designer, is one of the most intriguing modern books for collectors. Written/drawn in the 1970s, first published in 1981, then reprinted in later years, and again in 2013 with a brand new "Introduction," it deals with the main topics of any encyclopedia: Botany, Zoology, Biology, Chemistry, Technology, History, Ethnology, Religions, Usages & Customs, etc.

But, first of all, it doesn't need to be translated because it is wholly written in a made-up language, in spite of a useless 'Rosetta Stone' also being provided. And the wonderful illustrations picture a non-existing world, though it would be so fine if it did exist -- and it does, under the surface. A world full of beauty (plants more fascinating than in James Cameron's Avatar, buildings surpassing the newest and boldest architectures in China and other Eastern countries, . . .), of wonders, of tenderness and love, of mystery and surprise, and with its dark sides (pollution, death, torture, war, . . .).

Very many sources may be listed, but 4 can be suggested as the main ones: Pieter Bruegel the Elder via Benito Jacovitti (comic artist, 1923-1997), M. C. Escher, Bruno Munari (designer, 1907-1998), Alberto Savinio (Surrealist painter, 1881-1952).