The Fantastically Bizarre Woodcut Illustrations of ‘The Drolatic Dreams of Pantagruel’ From 1565

Obscurities researcher Hochelaga takes a look at the truly fascinating woodcut illustrations from the 1565 publication The Drolatic Dreams of Pantagruel. While the artist behind these 120 fantastically bizarre and grotesque figure illustrations or “demonic doodles” is unknown (though widely believed to be Fran├žois Deprez), they are rich with creativity, terror, and even social commentary of the day.

Hochelaga notes that a number of these doodles could have influenced the work of Hieronymous Bosch and are reminiscent of Medieval monsters. Other drawings seemed to be illustrated critiques of the nobility ahead of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Because the book is so mysterious there are no definitive answers behind the meanings of these illustrations, just educated guesses.

Curiously, there are no words to accompany these drawings, so we are left to guess their meaning. I suspect that beneath these whimsical sketches lie hidden messages that poke fun at the powers that be. From hidden jokes at the expense of the nobility and the Catholic church.

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