Antonio Gallonio, De SS Martyrum Cruciatibus, Rome , 1591 with engravings by Antonio Tempesta after Giovanni de Guerra of Modena.

The images here presented are from an early 20th century reprint published in Paris (FORTUNE Press 1903). The translator, A.R.Allinson, coyly admits that the popularity of the book is not entirely an admiration of stoicism and the sufferings of those who died for their faith. " Deep down in our poor human nature lurks the love of blood, a remnant of the primeval beast happily slinking away beforte the dawn of the better times. "

The text and images are obsessive in their detail of cruelty and suffering.

The expertise and means required in this classic to render the intricacies of torture place the work among the Classics of Information Design. Many of the images are profoundly shocking, particularly the decorative arrangement of instruments that cause pain. The martyrs go to their respective Fates with a casual elegance and often cheery grin.