The Madman’s Gallery

Edward Brooke-Hitching

Brooke-Hitching has created another marvelous collection of oddities. His book The Madman’s Library focused on the most bizarre and unique books in the world. The Madman’s Gallery expands the scope, looking at some of the strangest artwork and art movements in history. Learn about the “Ghost Heads” of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, a collection of highly realistic busts making wildly contorted faces. Everyone has heard of the Mona Lisa, displayed in the Louvre in Paris. But what about other versions, possibly painted by DaVinci’s students? Or his other sketches of the model for the Mona Lisa? Heironymus Bosch gets a mention, of course. But so does Ecce Homo, the Spanish fresco of Christ “restored” by an elderly parishioner in 2012 and now referred to as “Monkey Christ.” Here also fakes, life-consuming outsider art, and pieces by the mentally ill. This collection is riveting and thoroughly enjoyable, and each entry brief enough that you can dip into it at your leisure.