Simon Jester's Symbolicon presents
Austin De Croze's
with illustrations by
Introductory pages 1 Introductory pages 2 Introductory pages 3
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Designed and published in Paris in 1895, the Calendrier Magique was conceived by Austin De Croze and illustrated by the Italian lithographer Manuel Orazi. While the history of these two individuals remains somewhat obscure, even a casual glance at the contents and illustrations of their unusual work shows that De Croze and Orazi possessed a sophisticated familiarity with the Esoteric traditions of the fin de siècle era. Every page of the Calendrier Magique evokes the decadent, occult Paris of Gerard Encausse, Oswald Wirth, and Karl Huysmans. The Art Nouveau illustrations of Orazi are especially evocative. Simon Finch writes that the work "was highly praised by Caillet as 'fort original et d'une rare exécution artistique'; he added that no contemporary artist - save Félicien Rops - had managed 'so felicitously to combine sadism, satanism and the macabre'.
Little appears in De Croze's other published works to betray a fascination with the esoteric, and he remains known today (if at all!) primarily as a writer of books on gourmet French cuisine. But Manuel Orazi supplies some tantalizing hints of leanings toward the occult in several of his other illustrations and paintings. Orazi illustrated books, created posters for plays and operas (including the 1896 Paris premiere of Oscar Wilde's Salome), and even did set and costume design for the the infant film industry. (He worked on the 1921 classic L'Atlantide, directed by Jacques Feyder and starring silent film siren Stacia Napierkowska.)
The Calendrier Magique--so the legend goes--was published in a limited print run of 777 copies, making it quite a rarity among collectors. If you find an original copy, please contact me at this website.
Manuel Orazi illustration. What's going on here? A Black Mass?
Manuel Orazi illustration
with alchemical hints.
Stacia Napierkowska, leading lady in L'Atlantide (1921.)
Orazi designed the sets and costumes.