A selection of pages from an eighteenth-century demonology book comprised of more than thirty exquisite watercolours showing various demon figures, as well as magic and cabbalistic signs. The full Latin title of Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros, roughly translates to "A rare summary of the entire Magical Art by the most famous Masters of this Art". With a title page adorned with skeletons and the warning of Noli me tangere (Do not touch me), one quickly gets a sense of the dark oddities lurking inside its pages. The bulk of the illustrations depict a varied bestiary of grotesque demonic creatures up to all sorts of appropriately demonic activities, such as chewing down on severed legs, spitting fire and snakes from genitalia, and parading around decapitated heads on sticks. In additon there seem also to be pictures relating to necromancy, the act of communicating with the dead in order to gain information about, and possibly control, the future. Written in German and Latin the book has been dated to around 1775, although it seems the unknown author tried to pass it off as an older relic, mentioning the year 1057 in the title page.
Imagery from this post is featured in
our special book of images created to celebrate 10 years of The Public Domain Review.
500+ images – 368 pages
Large format – Hardcover with inset image
Jun 30, 2015