CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

Bidding Farewell to Temptation

2 minute read

That's a wrap!

Our latest show Vice & Virtue: An Exhibition of Sex, Saints, and Sin has officially closed.

It has been a sentimental year, looking back into New Orleans' past as we celebrate our Tricentennial and dreaming about the future with a new mayor in office and big expansion plans for M.S. Rau Antiques. New Orleans is a place that warmly welcomes visitors with its charm, yet is ceaselessly ready to tempt them with vices. All of this lies in contrast to its spiritual history, largely shaped by the influence of a long-term presence of Catholicism. M.S. Rau mounted Vice & Virtue in effort to playfully explore the tension between these contrasting histories and cultures, and believe it was a success! Thank you to all who came from near and far to visit M.S. Rau Antiques for the exhibition.

Below you'll find a selection of exhibition highlights.


Madonna in Ecstasy By Sassoferrato

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Madonna in Ecstasy by Sassoferrato

In this stunning depiction of the Madonna, Italian Baroque artist Giovanni Battista Salvi A.K.A. “Sassoferrato” captures the serenity of prayer and devotion. While dating to the mid-17th century, Sassoferrato was greatly inspired by and emulated the palettes and balanced composition of Renaissance masters and particularly of Raphael. Art historically significant, yet immediately impactful, Sassoferrato's work continues to inspire those who have the opportunity to view it. Of interest, a similar composition resides on the altar of one of Rome's most celebrated churches, the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano.


Pope Leo XIII Chiavari Chairs

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Pope Leo XIII Chiavari Chairs

These intricately carved lemonwood chairs date to circa 1892 and tell a fascinating story. The pair acted as a papal gift, given to Pope Leo XIII by the Italian city of Chiavari, a city that is associated with this celebrated style of chair. The sophisticated and streamlined design of Chiavari chairs have been praised by the likes of Napoleon III. Charles Albert of Savoy, and Italian sculptor Antonia Canova. Chiavari presented these special chairs to the Pope as a gift when the city became a diocese in 1892. The chairs feature symbols of the papacy, including the pope's crown, skeleton keys, flowers, ribbons and the papal coat of arms. See more antique chairs.

Related reading: Sex, Saints and Sinners: Select Treatures from M.S. Rau Antiques' Latest Exhibition


Iron Shame Masks

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Iron Shame Mask

This shame masks references the bizarre Medieval ritual of humiliation as punishment for offenders of non-violent crimes. In the Middle Ages, muzzle-like torture devices were utilized to publicly shame individuals who committed an offense. This example, whose mouth appears to be “stitched” shut, was likely designed to be worn by someone who was guilty of gossiping or spreading lies. Similar examples can be found in the British Library in London, Märkisches Museum in Berlin and Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum (Medieval Crime Museum) in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.


Rock Crystal Skull by Andreas Von Zadora-Gerlof

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Canadian-born sculptor Baron Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof is recognized as the world's leading gemstone artist and this skull demonstrates why. Carved entirely from an impressively clean block of rock crystal (pure quartz), the skull hails from the artist's memento mori series, reminding the viewer of life's brevity and the vanity of earthly life. Typically memento mori symbols are meant to encourage devotion in effort to seek the desired afterlife, however, in the context of Vice & Virtue the skull encouraged some to enjoy life, particularly while in New Orleans!

Learn more about the Vice and Virtue.  Explore the Online Exhibition here.

 

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