Today we are ecstatic to offer for sale possibly the BEST Memento Mori skull to come out on the open market in a long, long time! This unbelivably rare and one-of-a-kind Memento Mori skull is too amazing for words! Memento Mori is an object serving as a warning or reminder of death, such as a skull; it is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. Found recently in Austria, this spectacular skull dates from the late 18th century, and is of Italian/Austrian origin (they’re both neighboring countries with very similar ways of crafting pieces like this). Some of the best Memento Mori skulls out there are of Italian origin. The Italians had a niche market in crafting these wonderfully macabre pieces!
This particular skull (and its’ base) is expertly carved of soft wood. The skull was carved without a mandible, and was mounted on a triangular, footed, neoclassical style base. The front of the base features a swag over a front grid with interspersed rosettes. The base features a heavily-patinated paint-on-gesso with silver and gold leaf traces still visible. Both sides of the base are painted in a simpler raw umber-colored finish without carving. The bottom of the base is painted a medium-tone sage color. The right side of the base has very old wax residue; the skull was no doubt on a Church altar of some kind with burning candles next to it. The best part, of course, is the skull, which is incredibly macabre and wonderful! We have never seen a memento mori skull with a nail-pierced and bleeding skull before. Quite a piece! This skull has a wonderful patina, and like the base, it features a heavily-patinated paint-on-gesso finish. The area above the left eye near the frontal bone is pierced with a pair of square-cut old iron nails from which bright red painted blood drips down. The right side of the skull on the perietal bone above the right ear is also pierced with a pair of bloody square-cut old iron nails. This surreal and macabre skull has a lot of symbolism and meaning, almost as if the carver inteded for the viewer to interpret that there was a live brain inside the skull; the violent way in which the skull is bloodied and pierced might be a warning to the living of some kind of danger?! Maybe this skull was used for occult and supernatural ceremonies!? Whatever its’ history is (we would love to know) is in no doubt macabre and marvelous!
The skull presents beautifully and is in very good antique condition. The painted finish has wonderful, time-earned heavy patination as expect from such an old piece; there are minor losses to the finish that only add to the macabre appeal of the piece. There are a two very old and stable age cracks on the left side of the stand, and and minute pinholes from long-gone insects. There is very minor candle wax residue on the right side of the base. This is truly a magnificent opportunity to own a RARE and UNIQUE piece of Continental Memento Mori folk art! A conversation piece to end all conversation pieces. Will be THE crowning jewel of any macabre memento mori collection.
Dimensions: Height: 12-1/2″ Width: 6-1/4″ Depth: 7-1/4″ NOTE: Shipping cost is comprised of virtually all insurance. We do not mark up shipping. 2018/1918/K/R