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I am a medieval monster hunter. I have been for many years now. It is weird job that consists in hunting down monsters in medieval art, and more particularly manuscripts.
The great majority of these books, which were written on parchment, were of religious nature (Bible, book of prayers, theological treatise etc.). In them you obviously find lots of depictions of Christ, the Virgin and saints. But the devil is never far; he often lurks in the corner of the image, ready to tempt or assault the good Christian – starting with Jesus, who had to resist the devil’s lures three times.
The devil is the prototype of monsters. He is THE monster. But there are plenty of others. They come in all shapes and sizes. They often combine human elements with animal parts. They were believed to inhabit the edges of the earth, inhospitable places where human presence is undesirable. These territories lay in the far east part of the world, where few had yet dared to venture. There lived strange creatures, with strange-sounding names, such as panotii, sciopods, blemmyae, or cynocephali. They already fascinated Ancient Romans and Greeks, but took on a new meaning with the advent of Christianity. They came to embody the barbaric, unchristian world that was still unaltered by civilisation. Half human half beast, these creatures bear the mark (the stigma) of their uncivilised nature, of their monstrosity: a monster is first and foremost a visual anomaly. […].
Damien Kempf, Medieval Monster Hunter
Witty Books, 2020
Design by Paolo Berra
10 x 15 cm
First edition 2020