Catholic Artist Begins 14 Year Bible Illustration Project

Daniel Mitsui is a young artist who has, over the past dozen years, established himself as a unique talent, combining remarkable technical skills with a traditional vision of sacred art. In 2011, the Vatican commissioned him to illustrate a new edition of the Roman Pontifical, and the following year he established Millefleur Press, an imprint for publishing broadsides inspired by the work of 15th century printers.

He recently made an ambitious plan to “draw is an iconographic summary of the Old and New Testaments,” which will take about 14 years and will consist of 33 large drawings and another 165 or so smaller drawings. Discussing the project he said, “for years, I have wanted to draw longer series of pictures, consistent in style and size. Most especially, I have wanted to draw more of those subjects that are the very raw stuff of Christian belief and Christian art: the events of the Old and New Testaments. No other subjects offer an artist such opportunity for beauty and symbolism. Were I never to draw them, I would feel my artistic career incomplete”.

He says that, “the Summula Pictoria will be realized as 235 ink drawings on calfskin vellum. Forty large ones, about 9 inches square, will summarize the life of Jesus Christ. 124 smaller ones will summarize the Old Testament; 56 more in the smaller size will depict the lives of the Blessed Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and the Apostles. There will also be 13 iconic portraits of holy persons, and larger drawings of the Last Judgment and of the Tree of Jesse. I plan to undertake this task in the spirit of a medieval encyclopedist, who gathers as much traditional wisdom as he can find and faithfully puts it into order. I want every detail of these pictures, whether great or small, to be thoroughly considered and significant. And I want to begin this task soon, so as to complete it in those years that I can be reasonably confident that my eyesight and manual dexterity will endure.”

Daniel plans to devote much of the next two years to research and planning, improving “his technical skills,” and raising funds for the project and plans to draw over twelve years, from Easter 2019 to Easter 2031.