“For the Love of God”
January 7, 2013
“For the Love of God” is a diamond studded skull first exhibited in 2007. Its extravagant existence illuminated the skull as a cultural emblem of mortality. The skull is decorated with an excess of mortal vice. The current National Gallery of Victoria exhibition The Four Horseman showing until 28 January illustrates how this skull and other symbols of mortality were used in art from the 15th to the 17th Century. Many books on the artists and their work are in the Glen Eira Libraries collections.
‘The Four Horsemen’ is also the name of a series of prints by Albrecht Durer, with each horse representing famine, war, plague and death. These were events that pervaded human existence in Europe during this period and were perceived as the apocalypse from which people could only be saved by Christian faith. Like the Grim Reaper in the 1980s, these events have subsequently been used as cultural metaphors. Albrecht Durer: 1471–1528 by Anja-Franziska Eichler, discusses how Andrei Tarkovsky used the four horsemen in his 1962 film ‘My Name is Ivan’ to symbolise the disorder created by German soldiers. This book also explores many of the prints in the NGV exhibition.
Goya’s images of witches and war are discussed in Goya: to every story there belongs another by Werner Hofmann and the books Hans Holbein: 1497/8-1543 by Stephanie Buck and Holbein by Radu Boureanu inform us about Hans Holbein’s prints in the exhibition. Hans was also court painter to Henry the Eighth and many of his painted portraits in these books are the main characters in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the bodies, which reveal the added dangers of royal politics.
More information on these award winning historical novels can be found in the blog post, Was Anne an adulteress?
Written by Lisa