This is the scriptorium of the San Salvador de Tábara Monastery, and a painting of it. The scriptorium is the place in the monastery where the texts were copied, and you can see 2 monks, sitting in their chairs, writing. Another (with arms up) is ringing the bells, and 3 helpers, barely visible, are climbing ladders. I decided that this image would be at the heart of my tablet.
I started copying the scribes into the various windows, and changing the shape of the tower.
The scriptorium went through maybe a dozen variations - different roof, different number of floors, different scribes. And it evolved into this:
But never content to leave any empty space unfilled, I kept going:
I filled each of the tower building blocks with text from different cultures: hieroglyphics, medieval gothic, Tamil, etc, which you can see gathered on the left side, ready to be copied into the blocks.
And then I started adding images behind the text: a man sharpening his quill, 2 men stretching and selling parchment, a lion holding up a book. When I showed it to my good friend Joan Dreyer, she said "there's a Latin phrase, 'horror vacui' meaning a fear of empty space, which really fits this piece." Oh, yes, I'm the opposite of minimalist.
I later added the wording over Hugo's head. Next post, the finished scribe tablet