Friday, December 23, 2011
Hic Sunt Antropofagi
Currently working on a piece featuring cannibals. X-Mas is coming after all.
This is one of the preliminary sketches for it.
The fish are commenting on what's happening along the lines of a 16-century print after Hieronymus Bosch: 'Look son, this is something I have known for a long time. The big (fish) eat the small ones'. But I am not going to use that in the end, it's too obscure/referential. The drawing is probably not going to have any text.
Recently I went to a rather scholarly lecture by Catalin Avramescu, who has written some very interesting things about the cannibal in filosophy as the opposite of everything that makes a civilised man. Of course it's the ultimate taboo, but rather than first-hand accounts, through the ages man has been interested in cannibalism as a theoretical exercise.
Long story short, the "cannibal paradox" posed medieval theologists for a problem. The day of reckoning was always supposed to have the righteous dead rise from their graves, with God piecing together all the little bits that may have been scattered or even eaten by wild animals. (Early medieval frescos show wolves and lions throwing up their victims, very weird!) But a cannibal who has eaten another human being represents a paradox: the flesh of his victim has also become his, as he has absolved it. So those particles are in two places at one: in evil and in good. Not even God would be able to solve that puzzle. So this was quite upsetting. The idea of the resurrection of the flesh had to be moderated.
Somehow, gory pictures don't do it for me anymore. Ideas like these however I find quite inspiring.
On a side note: the crutches used by the half-man are authentic. You can find more about them on Got Medieval, one of my favored blogs.