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Whoever said rosary beads were boring had obviously never seen this one

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From the V&A’s website:

This small ivory carving conveys one of the most profound themes of the late Middle Ages, serving as a memento mori, a reminder of the transitory nature of life and the inevitability of death.

The repetition of prayers and liturgical texts was an important part of late medieval devotion. The rosary, which became popular by the fourteenth century, is a collection of these texts devoted particularly to the Virgin Mary. Strings of beads to assist those saying the long sequences of recitations also came to be known as rosaries. Such carvings as this one are pierced vertically for suspension, consistent with their original function as pendants to rosaries or chaplets (shorter strings of devotional beads).

Dating from the late Middle Ages through the seventeenth century, there are many surviving memento mori pendants from rosaries. Frequently double-sided, the pendants are often decorated with a skull on one side and a youthful face on the other. This is a rare example of a pendant showing four figures and no close analogue is known. 
The words inscribed on the fillet encircling the dying man’s brow, VADO MORI, may be an allusion to the tradition of ‘Vado Mori’ poems which had their origin in the thirteenth century. In such poems, or ‘carmina de morte’, a distich is put into the mouth of each type of individual, young and old, poor and rich, learned and unlearned, layman and cleric, of low and high social grade. Each distich begins and ends with the words ‘Vado Mori’.

Wild, huh?! I mean, those faces and expressions are bone-chillingly amazing. Reminds me of the gigantic wooden bead that was at one point a recent acquisition at the Rijksmuseum (they call it a “prayer nut”, which is both funny and kind of accurate). These are absolutely fascinating objects that I’d really love to learn more about.

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Rosary Bead, c. 1525-50. French or Southern Netherlandish. Carved ivory with traces of red and black paint, 5.1 x 3.7 x 3.4 cm. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Accession number 2149-1855. 

Photos taken from the V&A’s online collections catalogue. Check it out here

installator:

"Tatlin Tower reconstruction in construction  (Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935 at the Royal Academy two years ago)." (GRAD)

Continuing my “all things Tatlin" obsession/theme…

installator:

"Tatlin Tower reconstruction in construction  (Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935 at the Royal Academy two years ago)." (GRAD)

Continuing my “all things Tatlin" obsession/theme…

This Was Awesome: Making Colour | Exhibitions and displays | The National Gallery, London

I forgot to mention that I actually did get to see this show! I even bought the (pseudo) catalogue, it was that good. More to come about the actual show a little later, just wanted to give a wee mention now so that I wouldn’t forget. 

This Sounds Awesome: Exhibition – Disobedient Objects - Victoria and Albert Museum

Check it out if you can! Currently on view at the V&A until next February. 

Detail from The Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, designed by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (Netherlandish, Aelst 1502–1550 Brussels). Designed c.1532-1534, woven c.1542-1544. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

This popped up on my Pinterest feed and I couldn’t not post it, for obvious reasons (it’s beautiful!!). View the entire work here. 

Detail from The Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, designed by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (Netherlandish, Aelst 1502–1550 Brussels). Designed c.1532-1534, woven c.1542-1544. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

This popped up on my Pinterest feed and I couldn’t not post it, for obvious reasons (it’s beautiful!!). View the entire work here

Phaeton, falling from the sky, from the series The Four Disgracers. Engraved by Hendrick Goltzius (after the original by Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem), 1588.
Source: The British Museum

Phaeton, falling from the sky, from the series The Four Disgracers. Engraved by Hendrick Goltzius (after the original by Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem), 1588.

Source: The British Museum

A Grand European Gallery Transformed

What took us months, you can watch in seconds. See this gallery of masterpieces transformed. Learn more about the gallery here:http://bit.ly/OsSlDl.

MFA Boston, 2012.

installator:

"Royal Engineers preparing the crate used to transport Raphael Cartoons from Hampton Court; anon, 1865, albumen print. V&A 68:729. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.” (art-conservation)

installator:

"Royal Engineers preparing the crate used to transport Raphael Cartoons from Hampton Court; anon, 1865, albumen print. V&A 68:729. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.” (art-conservation)

Stockholm, represent!

installator:

"La DS rullas varsamt ut inför Gabriel Orozco utställningen." (Moderna Museet) [Feb 2014]

Houston, represent! From the linked NPR article (see below):

Demosthenous says what Dominique de Menil did stands as an example to the collecting world. Instead of quietly purchasing the frescoes for her museum — in the guise of “rescuing them for mankind” — and then defending her acquisition against subsequent ownership claims, she negotiated a historic agreement with the Church of Cyprus.”

installator:

"800-Year-Old Frescoes Leave Texas For Cyprus" (npr.org) [2012] (submitted by anewfaceinhell)