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Stephen Romano Gallery Presents 3D Exhibition On Faustian Grimoire

Thursday, April 22, 2021 | Events

Stephen Romano, whose work we’ve previously covered looking at his collaborations with the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick, is offering a one-of-a-kind gallery experience centered around the “Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis,” a medieval grimoire long associated with the Faust legend. This 3D virtual gallery allows guests to interact with the legendary text and explore the folklore and esoterica it inspired. Read on for full details!

Stephen Romano Gallery is pleased to announce the release of it’s 16th 3D Virtual exhibition using the Kunstmatrix platform.  The exhibition entitled “Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis: or, Threefold Coercion of Hell, Last Testament and the Sigils of the Art “

The exhibition appropriates images from the 1849 publication of Johann Georg Faust’s popular grimoire. Faust (c.1466 – c. 1541) was a German alchemist, astrologer, and magician.  After his death, legends about him were perpetuated in germanic folklore, one account of which has him conjuring the devil who appears to him in the form of Mephistopheles., and enters into a pact, pledging his soul in exchange for 24 years of service, after which time “Satan, chief of the devils” comes to claim his soul.

 

Stephen Romano examining the “Magica Naturalis” with the High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter Gilmore.

The grimoire ““Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis” was originally made in 1612, and is in the collection of The Duchess Anna Amalia Library, Weimar, Germany.  In the mid 1840’s, while Germany was going through social and political upheaval, Johann Scheible, publisher of occult books commissioned the artist Mr. Karl Kohl to visit the original manuscript and make copies of the illustrations and the sigils for the purpose of making a new edition. What the artist brought back were re-imagings of the original drawing which are now some of the most iconic images in esoteric culture.

In 2016, Nicholas Alvarez Ortiz, the world’s leading authority on this grimoire, and owner of Endoan Press, undertook and published the definitive illustrated English translation of “Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis,” and describes it as follows:

“The Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis was a popular grimoire in 18th Century Germany centering around the legend of Doctor Faust, to whom it was pseudo-epigraphically attributed. It contains a great array of magical practices centering around his mythical exploits aided by the spirit Mephistopheles.It remains relevant today as the foremost exemplar stemming from the Faustian Magical Literature and will prove indispensable for the scholars of Western Esotericism for its great array of magical practices dealing with topics like demonology, necromancy, the Liber Spirituum and divination as well as to the students of Goethe’s sources for his magnum opus Faust.This critical edition, amply researched, provides historical and literary context through its introduction and commentary to students and scholars of magic and Faustian literature.”

 

Mr Alvarez continues:

“Within Stephen Romano’s virtual gallery, the spectator has the opportunity to stand within the pages of the Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis and peer into its arcane symbols. Each image the spirits meeting us face to face almost like a religious icon, vibrant with life, becoming a numinous window that invites the curious to enter the legend of Dr. Faust.”

Collector, curator and private art dealer Stephen Romano, who owns two copies of the original volume, and was producer and designer of the 3D virtual gallery, comments:

“In the age of pandemic, we as presenters of art must find alternative and innovative ways to disseminate the art we love to share so much, and the virtual 3D gallery platform is ideal. I try in my best manner possible to make these virtual shows as unique and exciting an experience as possible, by exploiting the platform’s technical and visual possibilities as far as I can, without making the whole thing crash!”

Christoph Lauterbach, CEO kunstmatrix.com, the platform which hosts Romano’s 3D galleries, says:

 “Stephen Romano’s exhibitions on our platform are absolutely exceptional. We are thrilled by the experimental and courageous way he curates his shows. He pushes the limits of our software with each new exhibition in a way that – despite the large number of hosted exhibitions – always surprises and excites us.”

Wherever possible without damaging the spine, Romano VERY carefully scanned at very high resolution the original images from the antique book, worked with them in adobe photoshop and premiere, and then curated them on the Kunstmatrix platform. Kazim, publisher of Hexen Press which specializes in occult grimoires, and is collaborating with Romano on an upcoming book about the artist William Mortensen, also commented,

“Had an incredible time visiting the Magia Naturalis” 3D virtual exhibition. Being a huge fan of the original book and illustrations, I was amazed by the quality of the scans and the experience of visiting them like actual paintings in a real gallery. The transparency effects and the 3D perspective allow the illustrations and seals to superimpose as the viewer interacts, giving the original work a contemporary perspective. We are offered here a magical and innovative way to explore this esoteric masterpiece. Not to be missed!”

Romano concludes:

“It’s unquestionably one of my favorite books of all time. When I first acquired it in 2015, I immediately included it in an exhibition I curated at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, and was astonished at quickly it became a favorite in the show, I had to keep taking it out of it’s glass display case to accommodate visitor’s requests to see the entire book.. even to this day, whenever I do art fairs or public events, people approach me and ask me “do you have the Faust book with you?”.. Probably one of the best acquisitions I’ve ever made to be honest, it’s opened many doors for me, or should I say portals? God only knows what I’ve inadvertently conjured up by perusing the pages of this book, I only hope whatever it was, it had the wisdom to return from whence it came…”

Visit the exhibition here, and follow Stephen Romano Gallery online

Rocco T. Thompson
Rue Morgue's Online Managing Editor, Rocco is a Rondo-nominated writer, critic, film journalist, and avid devotee of all things weird and outrageous. He penned the cover story for Rue Morgue's landmark July/Aug 2019 "Queer Fear" Special Issue, and is a regular contributor to Screen Rant, Slant Magazine, and other cinema-centric publications.