Katsuhiro Otomo Unveils Cutaway Painting Inspired by Bruegel's Tower of Babel

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Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Steamboy, Memories) is a big fan of Dutch Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder. This interest became clear on April 13, when he unveiled the project he’s been working on lately, a recreation of Bruegel’s painting The (Little) Tower of Babel with a portion cut away to reveal the interior, at an event at Tokyo’s DNP Ginza Building.

Bruegel’s painting (one of two of the same subject) depicts the Tower of Babel, a massive tower built, according to the Bible, to reach the sky. God was disturbed at the prospect of humans encroaching on Heaven, so He derailed the project by introducing different languages among its builders, confusing them. Otomo explained that he envisioned the interior as hollow because otherwise the tower would have collapsed, and “there is merit to making use of the few materials you have.”

Otomo was assisted by collage artist Kōsuke Kawamura, who colored the painting to closely match the original. Kawamura says that he used over 25,000 layers in his editing software, “the most I’ve ever done in my life.” He also had to carefully set the correct perspective for each brick. In the end, he doesn’t even recognize his