First published in 1981, the radically strange and unparalleled Codex Seraphinianus took Italian architect, illustrator, and industrial designer Luigi Serafini 2-1/2 years to complete. What is it? Aside from floating in the general sphere of “art” no one really knows. The nearly 400-page book’s illustrations are only slightly less inexplicable than the unknown language that accompanies them. While oddly captivating, and possibly the Most Interesting Coffee Table Book in the World, trying to decipher and understand the Codex Seraphinianus has long been an exercise in futility.
Speculated to be an homage to–or copy of–the Voynich manuscript, a to-date undecipherable codex hand-written in the early 15th century, the Codex Seraphinianus is getting a 2013 facelift courtesy of Serafini himself, who has redesigned its layout and added new illustrations. The visual encyclopedia still contains 11 chapters, which divide its bizarro world into two parts, nature and people.
In my opinion, the greatest implication…and warning… we can take away from the Codex Seraphinianus is this: be careful who you get it on with because there is a good chance that the two of you will turn into an alligator post-coitus.