As Above, So Below by Rudy Rucker

Topics: Spain, Spanish Inquisition, Inquisition Pages: 2 (631 words) Published: February 23, 2014
In Europe of 1552, the Spanish Inquisition had recently begun, and art was very important. As Above, So below, a historical fiction novel by Rudy Rucker, transforms the art of Peter Bruegel into a story of his life and death. Peter Bruegel, an ambitious young artist, sells his first piece of art in the French-Italian Alps, marking the beginning of his career. Once he became a master himself Bruegel traveled Italy and was amazed by Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. Returning to Belgium, he began to receive commissions for his paintings, using risky perspectives and even more audacious interpretations of religious themes. For a while, he lived in a room provided by the man who printed his art. His closest friend was the cartographer Abraham Ortelius, who was hopelessly infatuated with the Williblad Cheroo, an exotic looking American Indian man who was often a point of conflict for Bruegel. Although Bruegel was a man with idiosyncratic creative urges, he wants to live comfortably and was willing to undertake work on commission. Throughout the Spanish Inquisition, heretics and anybody who would mock the Catholic faith were often punished by imprisonment, torture, and even death. Monarchs and regents who held faiths other than Catholicism were replaced. This made it easier to strike fear into the hearts of the general public. Cardinal Granvelle arrested Peter Bruegel for drawing lampoons making fun of him and the bishops. Bruegel was lucky and instead of death, which was the usual punishment for lampoons, he was imprisoned in the palace of the Regent Margaret for an excess of eight months. During his sentence he was to paint a portrait of the Regent, William the Prince of Orange, and any others he was asked to paint. His sentence was finally ended when he angered the Regent by showing her his portrait of her, which depicted her as dull-witted giant pillaging Hell and tormenting the demons. During the mid-fifteenth-century Europe, the Spanish Inquisition was...
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