The Wiedmann Bible

In 2013, Martin Wiedmann, a German banker, discovered in the attic of his father's house an illustrated Bible in the form of a concertina book or a leporello. Willy Wiedmann, Martin's father, used the attic as a painting studio and the Bible he drew, if unfolded, stretches approximately a mile. The book has a total of 3,333 illustrated pages.

Willy Wiedmann spent over 16 years creating this visual narrative of the Christian Bible. This achievement was done in his own signature style, called a polycon. The word is a combination of two Greek words; poly meaning many and ikon meaning panel or picture. This style was heavily influenced by his love of music. Cultural aficionados can see marked influences of 20th century avant-garde European movements like abstract expressionism, surrealism, cubism, and dadaism.

It is believed that Wiedmann drew the Bible as he wanted to engage individuals visually with the holy Christian book. It is certain that the elder Wiedmann started this stupendous work of art in 1984. His son Martin said he lived away from the family, and since he hardly saw him, he was oblivious to his passion.

The younger Wiedmann has devoted his time to promoting his father's work. He has spent about $30,000 to digitize the illustrations and has also commissioned an app. The app displays the elder Wiedmann's work and it can be freely accessed in its entirety by everyone.

About 500 volunteers on May 7, 2000, held up a copy made from the concertina in Magdeburg, Germany. They lined up along the Elbe River and made the Guinness World Record in the biggest such book category. The Museum of the Bible has opened an exhibit of the Wiedmann Bible on October 27. The book was so unique that Guinness had to create a special category to accommodate the Wiedmann Bible. It previously had the biggest in size category but not the concertina kind. Visitors to the exhibition are treated not only to a visual treat but the multimedia presentation of the art scrolls on a total of three screens with jazz music in the background.

The music is spot on, as Willy Wiedmann was not only an artist but also a professional musician. As Amy Van Dyke, the museum's lead curator points out, there exists a certain rhythm and geometry to Willy's work.

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