Tag Archives: absurd

The red splodge representing the reign of Ivan the Terrible

The red splodge representing the reign of Ivan the Terrible in Gustave Doré’s ‘The History of Holy Russia’

Via via I discover Gustave Doré‘s The Rare and Extraordinary History of Holy Russia (1854), an illustrated book with 500 drawings executed by Doré when he was just 21.

Doré was a genius, perhaps only equaled by Grandville (thirty year’s Doré’s senior).

The History of Holy Russia features a number of experimental and metatextual elements which are as surprising as the black page in Tristram Shandy.

The red splodge above represents the reign of Ivan the Terrible.

The caption reads:

“Suite du règne d’Ivan le Terrible. Devant tant de crimes, clignons l’oeil pour n’en rien y voir que l’aspect général.”

English translation:

“Continuation of the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Faced with such crimes, let’s blink our eyes to not see anything than the broad picture.” (tr. J.W. Geerinck)