Necessary Magnificent New Mexicans,
Any other states who want to join us, too, be it the central south, the prairie states, the deep deep south: welcome one and all.
Bienvenidos to our Southwest Roadrunners Virtual Meet-up: Beep Beep!
Deception of the eye
You are being deceived! All of these examples are of the same genre, encountered in paintings, murals and book illustrations: the “Trompe-l’oeil”, French for deceive the eye. Artists in early-modern times loved it because it allowed you to create your own reality and play tricks on the audience. They painted an object so real that you would think it was, like the painting showing a wall with a bunch of papers stuck behind a grid of red wires. A modern version is a mural showing the famous Trinity College Library in Dublin.
The three book pages are all from Joris Hoefnagel (d. 1542), who was the king of deception. Imagine seeing the pages with the bugs not on a screen, like you are now, but in a real book. You would have to suppress the urge to wipe them off, to quickly close the book. The example I like best is at the top. The flower painted on the other side of the page, which you can vaguely see, only stays on that page because its stem pricks through the surface. Here Hoefnagel is playing with reality, but also with his own representation of reality, painted on the page. It is an ironic double deception: you are deceived, and then some.
Pics: the manuscript page at the top is from Getty Museum MS 20 (hi-res image here); the bug pages are from a manuscript in the National Gallery, Washington (this is my source); the painting of the paper-filled wall is from the 17th-century painter Norbertus Gijsbrechts (hi-res image here). The wall painting is floating around on the web.
Crazy world map from 1581 - which includes America
This is how Heinrich Bünting depicted the world in his 1581 “Travel book through Holy Scripture”. Very popular at the time, it is filled with maps that track the journeys of biblical figures. This image is one of three non-biblical maps also found in the publication. It shows Bünting’s interpretation of the world: a clover whose three leaves are the classical continents, Europe, Asia and Africa - and Jerusalem placed in the middle. Note how America is already placed prominently in the lower left corner (“America: Die Newe Welt” - the New World). It may not be the earliest map showing America, but it scores high on the list of remarkable maps to include it.
Pic: Heinrich Bünting, Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae (1581).
# 2260 “Never A Frown” on Flickr.