The History of the Memento Mori and Death’s Head Iconography
Observatory (543 Union St., Brooklyn)
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.