Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini


This is the best book I have never read. If you don’t have the serious bucks necessary to buy this book, get it from your library and just sit down with a favorite beverage and thumb through it. It’s confusing, and it makes no sense, but it’s so interesting and beautiful that you will forgive it and keep looking anyway. Amazon sums it up pretty well: “While its message may be unclear, its appeal is obvious: it is a most exquisite artifact.” I described it to a friend as the encyclopedia of the imaginary land where Hieronymus Bosch’s consciousness lived when he was happy (as opposed to when it was unhappy and he was getting all medieval on the canvas).

You can get an idea of the contents by doing a Google image search or doing the “look inside” thing on Amazon, but most of the pictures you find are small and/or blurry, and half the joy of this book is the creamy, heavy textured paper it is printed on, so only do that if you can’t get the actual book. Really, go look. It’s pretty. And weird. I want to meet the artist and see if he has flowers growing out of his ears or a third eye in the middle of his forehead or huge frog feet. (Or maybe he dreams that he does?)


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