These past months, from August till now, have been a total and relentless strain on so many levels, so I couldn’t help but chuckle when I was asked to bind a book with the crucifixion of Christ as the main theme.
Ο τελευταίος πειρασμός του Νίκου Καζαντζάκη, δερματόδετη βιβλιοδεσία τύπου περαστό. Δέρμα βαμμένο στο χέρι και χειροποίητα κεφαλάρια ραμμένα με μεταξωτή κλωστή. Γράμματα χρυσωμένα με φύλλο 22 καρατίων.
The last temptation by Nikos Kazantzakis (best known for his novel “Zorba the GreeK”) was considered so radical that it was included in Vatican’s Index of Prohibited books and lead to his condemnation by the Greek church.
The story in a nutshell is that when Christ is on the cross he is visited by a spirit who says that God is pleased and wants him to be happy. Jesus is left to live a normal life blissful as any ordinary person. Or so he thinks, since it was all just a vision, a lie, the last temptation made by the devil. The book gives emphasis to the human side of Christ portraying him as a passionate person who is in doubt and struggling to understand.
The book was also filmed by Martin Scorsese with Willem Dafoe in the main role.
As is more often than not the case lately the initial concept was quite different. I was thinking of a complex scene including a lot of onlay work showing the 3 phases of the story in a glance by implying a full circle. However Kazantzakis is praised for his frugal writing so I opted for something simpler and more symbolic. Having this in mind and the fact that the client was fond of my binding for Eliot I made the specific design. I feel it reflects the story strongly while following the spirit of Kazantzakis’ writing style.
The endleaves are JHS machine assisted paper from Hewitt. I made some shiny headbands from silk thread and used 22karat gold in tooling the author’s name and title. I used an airbrush to color the leather and I must say, I feel it’s growing on me!