AN ARTIST who spent more than a decade painstakingly copying out every single word of the Bible has finally finished his labour of love.
Dino Mazzoli has completed 1,500 pages of handwritten text complete with more than 5,000 illustrations – a feat which is believed to be a world record.
The pensioner says his son managed to track down a version of the religious texts with a similar number of paintings but that it had been completed by a large team of writers and artists – not just one man. And the Italian has even had a letter from the Pope and other religious leaders praising him for his work.
Mr Mazzoli, who moved to England in 1961 after, in his own words, “coming to see The Beatles”, started work on the ambitious project back in 2001 after he developed mobility problems and health concerns left him housebound.
Rather than let his situation get to him, the 77-year-old threw himself into his work. “I have done it every single day I could,” he said. “I would start every morning, do 8am until 10 or 11am, again in the afternoon and then for a long time in the evening.
“I know it is perhaps considered old-fashioned but I am a Christian and this was something I wanted to do.”
Plans are afoot to publish the book both in print form, on the iPad and as an eBook and Mr Mazzoli is waiting on the final copyright permission to come through after using text from an American-based translation.
“I won’t make a penny from it,” explained the artist, who lives in Old Town. “I want the proceeds to be divided up between charities, including Save the Children.
“I didn’t realise the Bible was subject to copyright but we are expecting the permission to come through soon so it could be printed later this year.”
The most unique aspect of Mr Mazzoli’s Bible are his illustrations. A talented painter who has exhibited at the Towner and has work on show at the Hailsham Festival starting this week, each of the 5,000 plus water colours were created separately before being cut out and glued to the page.
His influences range from Picasso to Matisse, from Cézanne to del Castagno, and there is a little bit of each hidden within his pictures.
Most obvious of all though is Mr Mazzoli’s own style and take on the text. One larger image has a line from Revelation 2:7 alongside a picture of Holocaust victim Anne Frank. Another is inspired by William Blake.
The finished piece really is a one off. But what now for Eastbourne’s own renaissance man? “I will keep painting,” he said. “I do pictures for friends and love painting my family. I can’t go out any more because of my health, but I still have my painting and I am thankful for that.”