The Flammarion Engraving, a wood engraving so named as its first documented appearance can be found in Camille Flammarion's 1888 book L'atmosphère: météorologie populaire ("The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology").
Depicting a robed figure clutching at the sky that lies beyond the firmament, it has become a well loved metaphorical illustration, a cosmic landscape representing a mystical quest for knowledge.
Below you will find our own interpretation of a classic. A pen and ink reproduction by Rachel (that can be purchased as an art print from the Haus gallery) and accompanying words/poetry from Thomas.
Sun high, spring light of morning and the stars of night slowly recede into the onrushing dawn. The fields roll on forever and ever here, only the tallest of spires breaking through the folds of the land. Hedgerows like creases in the map, the tall tree like a maypole and everyone dancing around. Somewhere in this bucolic idyll the veil grows thin and someone has come across it. A lone traveller kneels at the threshold, birdsong all around as the day opens up and the air gently trembling before them. A subtle energy, the right constellation of light and sound. A portal stirring in plain sight, hidden in the simple lushness of the meadow. Offering first an outstretched hand that disappears into the invisible gate in the air, then ducking lower still, the head and shoulders follow.
Walls of cloud like pistons driven by cosmic wheels. Rolling endlessly in perfect harmony. Every form of weather is here, shards of ice like teeth tower over circles of mist. Shafts of light align and patterns form and shift in the blue fog. Rain droplets dancing over the firmament and impossible rainbows arch overhead. Above twin suns spin and beyond those heavenly galaxies beckon. It’s endless here, the space stretches further and further out. Astral fires blaze and light pours from holes in the sky. Perspective sways, focus dipping in and and out, all in thrall to the turn of the cosmic wheel.
We all seek the shimmering chaos that lies beyond the veil. But that impossible space pierces through everywhere, pools of red light in deep winter, the smell of awakening spring in the forest, the river gliding over moss. The tall grass in the wind. The mountain, the pinecone. It is in these places where the day shifts for a moment about us worn pilgrims. Our crowded thoughts ushered away and we are left kneeling at some unseen altar, hands outstretched, ready to see.
Flammarion Engraving, 1888 - Artist Unknown