Simon Cox's books include:
His newest book due out November 3, 2009: Decoding The Lost Symbol: The Unauthorized Expert Guide to the Facts Behind the Fiction
Illuminating Angels & Demons: The Unauthorized Guide to the Facts Behind Dan Brown's Bestselling Novel (2005)
Cracking the Da Vinci Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Facts Behind Dan Brown's Bestselling Novel (2004)
The Dan Brown Companion(2007)
An A to Z of King Arthur and the Holy Grail (Simon Cox's a to Z Series), An A to Z of Ancient Egypt (Simon Cox's a to Z) ,An A to Z of the Occult (Simon Cox's a to Z)
Please welcome Simon Cox:
In The Da Vinci Code it was Leonardo da Vinci, in Angels & Demons it was Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and now in the new Dan Brown novel, The Lost Symbol, we have Albrecht Dürer. Art and the artists who create it are never far from Dan Brown’s mind it would seem.
In The Lost Symbol, Brown uses one of the great engravings of Albrecht Dürer, Melencolia I, as a device to embed a clue for Langdon to solve. In this case, it’s a so called magic square, to be seen within the engraving, that leads Langdon forward in his quest. So let’s take a little look at this amazing piece of art. (See the Full Large Image Here)
‘Melencolia I’ was intended to be part of a set – possibly three, maybe four – but was in the end the only one completed. It’s an extraordinary piece of work that Dan Brown could have mined for several books worth of mysterious material. Dürer was, it would seem, a man out of time. One of those incredible characters, much like both Leonardo and Bernini, who stand head and shoulders above all around them. He was also, again like Leonardo and Bernini, prone to long bouts of melancholic depression and introspective meditation. Dürer was a flawed genius.
‘Melencolia I’ fascinated me as soon as I set my eyes upon it. This is an image full to the brim with symbolic elements and secret iconography. I reproduce the image in full on one of the pages of my book, Decoding The Lost Symbol. As I state in the book, entire theses and books have been devoted to trying to explain the images within the engraving. It is a deep and complex piece that demands an extended period of research and study, and even then you can only really scratch the surface. This truly is an example of art that reaches out and touches the psyche and the unconscious of the viewer. It has become one of my favorite images and I never tire of looking at it.
The central theme of the engraving seems to be echoed within the pages of The Lost Symbol, namely transformation of the soul via alchemical endeavors and the attaining of a higher level of being. Many of the items that Dürer has chosen to feature within the image are of alchemical meaning, including a crucible, scales and various tools. There is the background image of a rainbow and a village in the distance – a tranquil looking scene compared to the foreground representation of a very melancholy looking female angel who holds a set of Masonic looking compasses. There is a bell, scales and a timer, as well as an emaciated dog and a rather forlorn looking cherubim. It’s an incredible image and one that I urge you to look at and into. Dürer was trying to reach out to the viewer and impart something, rather like Dan Brown has tried to do within the pages of The Lost Symbol. I think it’s a very fitting image for Brown to have used.
For those of you interested in knowing more, or who want to contact me directly, I am on Facebook under my name, on Twitter (@FindSimonCox) and have a website at http://www.decodingthelostsymbol.com/, where you will also find details of a fabulous conference I have put together for November 8, 2009 in Los Angeles.
What a fascinating discussion!! Thank you so much to the author for visiting The Burton Review! I look forward to learning more about American and Masonic mysteries in particular when I read this book. The television series Decoding the Past have always intrigued me. With the cult popularity of Dan Brown, his movies and books alike have recently interested new believers with non-traditional approaches to history and science. Simon Cox has started a website at http://www.intotheduat.com/ which is helping to bring these theories and insights to anyone interested in secrets to the past. Simon is also a featured blogger at Barnes & Noble, check out the discussion going on there.
You can also see my article on Examiner.com that I wrote last month concerning the topic.