Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Weird Wednesday

This is a drawing by an artist called Alfred Kubin. I've seen bits and pieces of Kubin's work scattered through various books but didn't know much about him. I've just Wikipedia-ed him (oh the shame!) and discover that he was a genuine Bohemian (ie born there) and spent most of his life living a secluded life in a 12th century castle. Most of his ouvre (matron!) seems to consist of weird and scary shit.

This image comes from a little booklet recently acquired by my friend Anne (or rather by her boyfriend on one of his many trips to Brussels to visit his son). It is printed on rough yellowing paper and is undated but it must be pre-Great War - judging by the costumes, anyway. There are a dozen drawings in the book. This one is called 'Circe', whom you'll remember was the witch in Homer's Odyssey who turned Odysseus's men into pigs.

You'll have to click on the pic to examine it properly. Circe, of course, is the rather tarty girl sitting on a dungheap, with a tell-tale pig snuffling by her. She is attempting to inveigle an old soldier and appears to have a small pistol in her right hand (or am I mistaken?). Note the odd details in the background. There appear to be two doors into the cliffs behind the figures - entrances to subterranean fairy kingdoms? There is a Grecian temple on the hill behind. A bloke in a night-cap is being chased by an ostritch - and what the hell is that thing emerging from the well?

All very weird. Many of the other drawings in the book are just as weird, so no doubt I'll post another in the near future.

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