Monday, 1 November 2021

Nothing Sacred: Collection Crassness Spotted, "Halloween" Philadelphia USA

Meanwhile, in the USA:
Nick Herman @herman_nick_
If this Halloween-decorated 14th-century Cologne reliquary bust in a random Philadelphia house window is yours, please get in touch.
A reliquary is of course a piece of sacral equipment, a vessel made to house a holy relic. Interestingly, Mr Herman later found it:
Halloween night update: found it!

Looking at the discolourations on the piece, they do seem to be the same object. 

Sotheby's Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art 10 July 2014 Lot 22
German, Cologne, circa 1330-1350
Sold 47,500 GBP
Description Reliquary bust of one of Saint Ursula's 11,000 Virgins walnut, with some remnants of polychromy 45cm., 17¾in.
It is unrecorded by Sotheby's whether it still has the relic (human remains) inside. It was in the 1930s  in the hands of one Harry Fuld (how he got it is not recorded) from whom it was confiscated by the Nazis probably in 1941, restored to the family in 2014 and in the same year flogged off by them in Sotheby's... 

Seven years later it ends up in the hands of a crass US collector who put it on a cold damp windowsill in a window that badly needs reputtying and repainting, decorated with artificial (polyester?) cobwebs all over it, a toy tarantula on one side and two plastic skeletons poking out from the relic chamber. While Mr Herman's Twitter/Instagram audience in the US and elsewhere (some of whom, shamefully, should know better)  is entranced by this "cool idea" of how to treat a bit of the European Christian heritage, the rest of us might wonder about the intentions of somebody doing that, to mock the religious sensitivities of others from their windowsill. Apparently, at one stage there was a flickering candle lit inside. 

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