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Pierced hearts, unicorn horns and a bottled witch: Oxford show investigates the histo
28-08-2018, 12:23 PM
Post: #1
Pierced hearts, unicorn horns and a bottled witch: Oxford show investigates the histo
This looks like its going to be a very interesting show

Around 180 objects at the Ashmolean Museum reveal how humans have embraced the occult over the past eight centuries

The Ten Commandments forbade the veneration of graven images—indeed, any other gods “but me”. However, the early Christian church, ever pragmatic, preferred to accommodate rather than challenge the old religions. As a compromise, pagan deities were driven out of the churches to serve as humble pediments and gargoyles but they lived on in the hearts of the congregation. Magic and the supernatural were irrepressible beliefs in medieval society and surprisingly they remain so, even to this day.

The occult has always been a powerful inspiration in painting and sculpture. The British Museum’s 2014 exhibition Witches and Wicked Bodies demonstrated that Dürer, Goya, Delacroix, Fuseli, Burne-Jones and Rossetti drew inspiration from the dark side. Now, the Ashmolean Museum has launched a fascinating sequitur called Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft. Less a conventional art exhibition and more of a cabinet of curiosities, it is a show that would have delighted the museum’s founder Elias Ashmole. Astrology, alchemy and magic were some of Ashmole’s fascinations and were certainly the cornerstone of his own collection of curiosities. It included all manner of gemstones, crystals and shells as well as a mermaid’s hand and "unicorn" horns.
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