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.


alkbazz said...

Maybe feralmen could have choose to eat nuns to save their souls ? Cannibalism is a strong subject with a lot of consequence; man against man (man is a wolf for man; as we could see today on TV/Youtube); absorbing another one faculties/qualities (I think of this japanese who eat girls, but it's true in some primitives tribe)... and the nowadays attraction for zombies, which seems to be the worst think ever, where eating man can transform you into non-human/non-living creature (is there religion behind that?)

This book look good, don't know if I could find it in french - love the cover

Marcel Ruijters said...

My feral men do have a soul, but no consience - like animals. Therefore, they will end up in Hell, but not any deeper than Limbo. (which Dante Alighieri reserved for the unbaptised)
It is an interesting idea to have them gain more of what you could call a soul by eating nuns' brains, but that would be a side effect rather than a strategy to become smarter. Basicly, they're just hungry. ;-)