The History of the Memento Mori and Death’s Head Iconography: Part Two of “Hairy Secrets” Series

Illustrated lecture with Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
Date: Thursday, January 24

Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $10
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
***Part 2 of a 3 part series Hairy Secrets: Human Relic as Memory Object in Victorian Mourning Jewelry”

In tonight’s lecture–the second in a 3-part series on human relics and Victorian mourning jewelry–master jeweler and art historian Karen Bachmann will explore the development of the memento mori, objects whose very raison d’être is to remind the beholder that they, too, will die. Bachman will trace the symbolism and iconography of the memento mori and death’s head imagery in both Medieval and Renaissance art, focusing on jewelry. She will also discuss the development of the “portable relic” — a wearable form of body part reliquary, will be the focus of this lecture. The importance of hair in contemporaneous art of the period will be addressed, as well as the development of bereavement jewelry with hair.

Hairy Secrets: Human Relic as Memory Object in Victorian Mourning Jewelry is a series which will explore in lectures and a workshop the history of the preservation of human remains for reasons sacred and profane, culminating in the flowering of Victorian hair art mourning jewelry, or jewelry which incorporates the hair of the beloved dead.

Lecture One: “Speaking Reliquaries” and Christian Death Rituals (January 17, 8:00 PM)
Lecture Two: The History of the Memento Mori and Death’s Head Iconography (January 24, 8:00 PM)
Lecture Three: The Victorian Love Affair with Death and the Art of Mourning Hair Jewelry and Morbid Anatomy Going Away Party (February 8, 8:00 PM)
Workshop: Victorian Hair Jewelry Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann (January 13, 12:00 PM & February 5, 7:00 PM)

Karen Bachmann is a fine jeweler with over 25 years experience, including several years on staff as a master jeweler at Tiffany & Co. She is a Professor in the Jewelry Design Dept at Fashion Institute of Technology as well as the School of Art & Design at Pratt Institute. She has recently completed her MA in Art History at SUNY Purchase with a thesis entitled “Hairy Secrets; Human Relic as Memory Object in Victorian Mourning Jewelry”. In her downtime she enjoys collecting biological specimens, amateur taxidermy and punk rock.

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