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Brother William

n model by Stefan Hellström
n text by Martin Waligorski

"Laughter kills fear, and without fear there can be no faith, because without fear of the Devil there is no more need of God."

Readers that know the origin of this quote will immediately recognize the subject of Stefan Hellström's scale figure.

Brother William of Baskerville is the hero of Umberto Ecco's smashing hit novel Name of the Rose, and the 1986 movie of the same name, with Sean Connery playing Brother William. Strangely, the movie was successful in Europe but flopped in US.

Events in Ecco's novel happen in November 1327 in Benedictine abbey somewhere in northern Italy , and the writer recreates this era with meticulous attention to historical accuracy. William is an English Franciscan and a scholar. It is known that the first faint beginnings of experimental science took place among English Franciscans, and William himself demonstrates love for science and logic ability beyond our common view of medieval man. His archetypes may have been Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon or William of Occam. 

The world of William's time is in turmoil. The argument rises between the Pope and William's Franciscan order over the question of poverty. Should the Church possess earthly riches and grasp the political power; or should it work among the poor and outcast, following the poverty of Christ?  Increasing wealth in the cities is changing the social structure; in this development, the Church slowly alienates itself from its believers aiming for political influence. The order of Knights Templar is banned. Numerous heretical groups rise in opposition to the established order of church and society. In response, the Church unleashes the fearful power of the Holy Inquisition.  

Being a great mind ahead of his time, William becomes the target of those who fear change. In the end, his belief in logic and science proves somewhat illusory.

The Model

This 54 mm resin figure comes from Andrea Minatures. The figure is beautifully sculpted with visible resemblance to the familiar face of actor Sean Connery. Or, according to Eco: "His height surpassed that of a normal man and he was so thin that he seemed still taller. His eyes were sharp and penetrating; his thin and slightly beaky nose gave his countenance the expression of man on the lookout, save in certain moments of sluggishness of which I shall speak. His chin also denoted a firm will, though the long face covered with freckles...could occasionally express hesitation and puzzlement." The vignette shows William in his element - sitting at the table of the library, with an open book, an oil lamp and a few writing utensils. 

Stefan used Humbrol Enamels and artists' oils to paint the figure and the different elements of the base. Stefan's masterly attention to detail is self-evident at  the pictures, and even more amazing considering that the original is only about 50 mm in size. Enjoy.


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