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Snake women, dragons and other esoteric imagery from the alchemical manuscript ‘Clavis Artis’

The renowned composer Nino Rota collected books and manuscripts on the occult. Rota was a child prodigy who went on to compose ten operas, five ballets and many, many choral and chamber pieces. He is now best known for his multi-award-winning film scores for The Godfather, Romeo and Juliet and Fellini’s and

When Rota died in 1979, a copy of a very strange occult manuscript Clavis Artis was discovered among his personal effects. Rota had purchased this illustrated text from a bookseller in Frankfurt. After his death it was donated to the Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei where it can still be found today.

Rota’s copy of Clavis Artis is one of only three editions of the manuscript being currently held in Italy and Germany—only two of which are illustrated.

The Clavis Artis is an alchemical manuscript believed to have been produced in the late 17th or early 18th century—though the title page states the book was written in 1236 AD. The text is attributed to “Zoroaster (“Zarathustra”) the rabbi and Jew” who claimed to have written the book over “a dragon skin.”

R. et AC
Secret key for many covert operations
In the animal kingdom, the kingdom of metals
and minerals

the rabbi and Jew
Clavis Artis
Part one
The original was written by the author
over a dragon skin
World Year
Following text was translated
from Arabic into German
in the Year of Christ

Zoroaster’s manuscript details various rites and practices relating to alchemy. It has been suggested the text may have been lifted from an earlier work, while its author “Zoroaster” may have been Abraham Eleazar—an occultist who wrote another alchemical text L’Uraltes Chymisches Werk in 1735. However both these manuscripts contain imagery to be found in an even earlier alchemical manuscripts by Nicolas Flamel—the man who allegedly found the Philosopher’s Stone.

Whatever the book’s provenance it is fair to say these illustrations from Clavis Artis are quite beautiful and strange.
More magical illustrations from the ‘Clavis Artis,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sleaze up your crib (almost free) with this treasure trove of worldwide classic B-movie poster art
09:42 am


exploitation films
movie posters

I think it’s fair to say that most of the staff here at Dangerous Minds has an appreciation for lurid B-movie poster art. It’s a topic we enjoy posting about from time to time. I’m a huge fan, especially of ‘60s-‘80s exploitation and horror posters. Over the years I’ve amassed a decent collection of original one-sheets, picking them up cheap here and there at flea markets and junk shops. Unfortunately eBay and the collector’s market has really made it difficult to find classic exploitation paper in the wild. Nowadays if you’re looking for, say, an original Ilsa, She Wold of the SS poster, you can expect to pay no less than two hundred bucks online. It’s a hobby that can get expensive quickly.

If you’re not stuck on the notion of owning an original, and have access to a decent printer, you can decorate your dwelling from floor to ceiling with classic horror, erotic, grindhouse action, and kung-fu poster images taken from one sheets, half sheets, daybills, locandinas, and quads from all over the world.

I recently discovered a site called Wrong Side of the Art, which apparently has been around for years, yet under my radar. This site is a treasure trove of cult and trash poster images with an emphasis on high-resolution—meaning that if you have a good printer you can have rather nice prints of hundreds of classic poster titles. Of particular interest are the foreign posters… those are always the coolest.

My printer will go up to 13"x19”, so I was able to print off a few decent-sized prints before my toner went bye-bye. I’m not sure how the image quality maintains on larger prints, but if you have access to a poster printer, give it a shot and let us know how it works out. I was able to print these just now:

They look especially impressive in person
Wrong Side of the Art is one of those sites that makes me truly appreciate the Internet. There’s so much cool, well-curated stuff there that you can easily get lost for hours scrolling through classic Italian Giallo, Japanese Pinku, and good ol’ American women-in-prison prints. There are hundreds of titles and the quality is the best I’ve seen online. The amount of work that’s gone into maintaining this site for the benefit of B-movie fans is apparent and should be applauded. Thank you Wrong Side of the Art!

Here’s a brief gallery of posters you can find high-res prints of. The site has hundreds more. Go there now. It’s seriously one of the best things on the Internet.



Many more after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Dave Grohl, Lemmy, The Dude, ‘American Psycho’ and many more garden gnomes
12:38 pm



American Psycho gnome here.

If you, like me, are tending a garden and feel it needs something extra… then why not adorn it with with one of these delightful garden gnomes by Ian the Gnome? I mean, there’s something for everyone! If you love The Big Lebowski there’s a gnome for that. If you’re a Doyle from The Misfits fanatic… there’s a gnome for that, too!

The prices for the garden gnomes can range anywhere from $40 to $85. I put a link below each gnome to direct you to its page and where to buy.

Happy gardening.

Dave Grohl gnome here.

A Clockwork Orange gnome here.

The Dude here.
More gnomes after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Hikari Shimoda’s strange and beautiful paintings of children on the edge
10:51 am


Hikari Shimoda

Kids are cute. Paintings of kids are cute. But Japanese artist Hikari Shimoda’s paintings of kids are cute and kinda scary.

Shimoda paints bright day-glo colored anime-inspired portraits of young children. These are no ordinary portraits. These are no ordinary children. Shimoda has said her paintings are not “human’ children—but are like avatars used to convey the artist’s “emotions and feelings to other people.”

Shimoda describes her paintings:

My motif is children whose ages are around 10 to 15 years old. Their attempt to adjust themselves to the modern environment in our time seems to be a hard battle to me. Also, they are living in an unstable time between being a child and a being an adult.

I pick up their warped attitude or feeling toward the outer world and express it through their unstable presence, I can express deep feelings I have inside, such as grief, alienation, and love.

I believe that adults who were once a child feel compassion with the children I paint.

These children are “magical.” They have no discerning age, gender or identity. They are heroic yet full of human weakness and fragility. Their vulnerability at odds with a dangerous and despairing environment—”a world of isolation and alienation.”

More of Hikari Shimoda’s work can be seen here.
‘Children of this Planet #11’  (2013).
‘Children of this Planet #6’ (2012).
More of Hikari Shimoda’s paintings plus video interview with her, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Underground erotica: Konstantin Somov’s secret stash of gorgeous gay art
01:22 pm


Konstantin Somov

The Boxer (1933)
Russian painter Konstantin Somov isn’t very well known for the dreamy, homoerotic portraits you see here. He was a successful commercial artist from an artistic family, but his most acclaimed work might better be described as “retro,” or even “camp.” Somov was essentially a Rococo revivalist, forgoing the somewhat harsh realism that was popular in Russia at the time for a whimsical gouache and watercolor style that was nearly 200 years old—think big wigs and giant skirts, a lot of fussy-looking depictions of 18th century aristocracy. In some ways, his commercial work was even gayer than his gay boudoir scenes.

In Russia, Somov was an integral part of a thriving and lush arts community centered around a publication he co-founded—World of Art, which also included lavish costume and set design for the Ballets Russes. There were a lot of gay men involved in World of Art, and its predilection with fantasy and luxury were very much out of step with the 19th Century Russian Realism. After the Russian Revolution, Somov likely anticipated his work being denounced as decadent so he immigrated to the U.S. and then Paris. His commercial work is auctioned off for millions at Christie’s, but it’s his underground gay portraiture that’s got the cult following.

Naked Young Man (1937)

Portrait of A Man (1933)
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Vintage flashback-inducing psychedelic ads from the 60s and 70s that will give you a contact high

Who knew that wearing Wrangler Jeans could be this much fun? Vintage ad from the 1970s.
Every product under the the sun in the 60s and 70s seemed to be coated with LSD. Even mundane items like Wrangler Jeans, acne medication and Plymouths caught the psychedelic buzz. If you weren’t taking drugs at the time, all you really had to do was pick up a magazine and check out some of the colorful (and confusing) ads and get experienced.

Vintage psychedelic ad for the Yellow Pages.
I was very lucky to have a wonderful art teacher in the sixth-grade who at the end of the year gifted me with a Peter Max poster book as we both shared a love for that type of counter culture artistic expression which I still have to this day (thanks, Mrs. B!). Max’s widespread notoriety began in the 60s and continues to this day (The 78-year-old artist was commissioned in 2012 to paint the hull of a Norwegian Cruise Line ship). It wasn’t surprising to see his recognizable artwork show up in a 1971 ad for the Chelsea National Bank which I have of course included in this post. I’ve also got a soft spot for the kaleidoscopic ads for the vintage cosmetics line sold at Woolworth’s (the land of neverending bins and shelves full of everything including from 45’s to underpants) called Baby Doll. Grab some sunglasses and enjoy!

Peter Max’s illustration for the Chelsea National Bank, 1971.

An ad for Baby Doll cosmetics sold at Woolworth’s during the 60s and early 70s.

Trippy vintage ad for the ‘New-Hope Soap’ Clearasil.
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Makeup artist transforms young woman into an old fart punk rocker
11:24 am

Pop Culture

Neill Gorton

Makeup and prosthetics artist Neill Gorton recently showed off his mad skills at the International Makeup Artists Trade Show (IMATS) in London by turning a young woman into an old punk. The young female model, Kelsey-Leigh Walker became totally unrecognizable when the makeup was completed. It’s pretty impressive, eh?

“This was done to promote my make up school Neill Gorton Prosthetics Studio,” said Gorton.

In my opinion, the makeup is just as good or maybe even better than Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa which was nominated for an Oscar in 2014 for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. So I guess what I’m trying to say is this is Oscar-worthy work! Well done!


More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Bloody Disgusting: A gruesome gallery of vintage medical illustrations from the 1800s

My father once bought several volumes of medical textbooks as a job lot from a secondhand bookshop. Why he did this I’m not quite sure. Perhaps he liked their fine red leather covers, their marbled pages, the beautiful yet gruesome illustrations of diseases contained therein. Perhaps he thought these fine volumes matched our home’s interior decor? Or maybe he hoped my brother or myself would one day study these antique books and become a medical practitioner? I certainly considered it. Indeed I nearly did apply for medicine at university but changed my mind at the last moment and chose a rather pointless arts course—my real intention had been to go to Art College and paint…but that’s another story.

However, I did spend many, many, probably far too many hours poring over these books and their fabulous colored plates of medical diseases, internal organs, autopsies, arterial systems, genitals, brains and what have you. I marveled as much at the complexity and wonder of the human body and its diseases as I did at the beauty of the illustrations. These were to me works of art that deserved to be hung in some gallery rather than just hidden away for the education of young minds.

Illustrations of different diseases and conditions provided an essential part in the development of medical treatment. All doctors need a good memory so they can recognize symptoms, ailments and you know body parts—and the work of illustrators in accurately depicting different forms of diseases—leprosy, syphilis or smallpox, etc—were central to a doctor making the right call in a patient’s’ diagnosis and treatment.

This is a tiny small collection of some of the vast number of disturbingly beautiful illustrations produced by artists for medical practitioners during the late 1700s to the early 1900s—and they are quite fantastic.

And the moral of my story? Well, if you ever get the choice between an arts course and studying medicine…do medicine because you can truly help people and maybe even make a shit load of money while you’re doing it.
A thirteen-year-old Girl with leprosy.
A thirteen-year-old Boy with severe untreated leprosy.
More beautifully rendered (and totally gross) diseases after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Robert Crumb and friends flush Donald Trump down the toilet, 1989
05:24 pm


Donald Trump
R. Crumb

A few months ago we learned that Woody Guthrie once wrote a righteously angry protest song about Donald Trump’s slumlord dad, an occurrence that could only be topped by, say, a righteously angry comic strip penned by R. Crumb about his son, the ultra-wealthy asshole currently running for President of these United States of America.

Such a thing actually fucking exists!

In 1991 Crumb left America for France, but before he did so he put out “Point the Finger,” a comic about a certain over-publicized real estate mogul that appeared in his short run of Hup comics (Issue #3). In the five-page strip, “Crumb” (the character) has a run-in with Trump, whom he calls “one of the more visible big time predators who feed on society” and “one of the most evil men alive.” He also says, “Hey Don—Ugh! You’re so hateful I can’t even look at you!”

He enlists his chums Tracy and Marny to introduce Trump’s face to the inside of a toilet bowl. And then the three of them (not Trump—ew) have sex.

You can read the entire strip here, but be warned—it’s most definitely NSFW.

The well-known comix artist R. Sikoryak, likely best known for Masterpiece Comics, has posted a handful of non-NSFW images from “Point the Finger” on his blog, which we’ve reproduced here.

You can buy Hup 1-4 for just $30.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
At Home, At Work, At Play: Color Autochromes of life before the First World War
12:16 pm


Alfonse Van Besten


The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

That well-known opening line from L. P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between sits well with these Autochromes by artist and photographer Alfonse Van Besten (1865-1926) taken in the years leading up to the First World War. Looking at these beautiful idealized portraits of people working and playing in the tranquil Belgian countryside it is hard to imagine the bloody slaughter about to unfold on these “Flanders Fields.” They are like a glimpse of a man-made paradise before the Fall.

Van Besten was an early adopter of the Lumière brothers’ photographic process by which color was replicated through compressed pieces of dyed starch. His portraits are painterly—superbly composed and artfully created—with a sense of spectacle and drama. The majority of pictures show a wealthy middle and upper class at play—but as can be seen Van Besten was equally adept at capturing the working lives of the poor with a fine eye for detail and group composition.
The artist and photographer Alfonse Van Besten painting in his garden circa 1910.
‘Musing’—The photographer’s wife Josephine Arnz circa 1910.
Men in civic and military clothes, ca. 1911.
Children at play ca. 1912.
More Autochromes by Alfonse Van Besten, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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