chapter  11
22 Pages

City of God: On the Longing for Architectonic Perfection, a Reminder by Uriel Birnbaum

It is hardly a well-known book, even today. It has been described as one of the most attractive and idiosyncratic publications of its kind; but remaining copies tend to reside in the vaults of rare book libraries, where archivists struggle to know how best to categorise them.2 Published in Leipzig and Vienna in 1924, it was printed under the artist’s close supervision, in lavish full colour, using the latest offset press technologies, and each of its plates is layered in rich, fully saturated, almost translucent hues. Its subtitle advertises 50 such plates, each one individually arresting, yet contributing to the perfection of a whole that aims to combine both word and image into a single, spectacular, ambitious work – a work that challenges the orthodoxies of contemporary culture.3