We’ve created a plethora of pretty and pointed rewards for the Open Access Antiquarianism Kickstarter campaign. Starring on our stickers and larger buttons are a series of digitally jazzy art and archaeological emblems.
On each is a variant of the classic phrase ‘art for art’s sake’ which emphasizes the on-going and increasingly needed role of technology research and development for the humanities and social sciences which our project pokes at with our political art.
Here’s a bit of background about each design:
Technology for Art’s Sake
The Lion and the Angel: Technology for Art’s Sake
Our initial offering features a re-colored image of the pensive statue which quietly guards the exit gate at Basilica Santa Croce in Florence. Beyond the Dr. Who and Narnian references a modern pop culture audience might layer into the analysis (and which we of course took into account in our selection), these are two of the most enduring symbols in art throughout history. And the Basilica Santa Croce, as the resting place of some of the most famous Italian artists (Michaelangelo), scientists (Galileo), and writers (Machiavelli), is one of the world’s greatest monuments towards interdisciplinarity.
The Lion or the marzocco is the heraldic symbol of the Renaissance capital Florence. And they were specifically beloved by the Renaissance’s leading family, the Medici, so much so that legend has it a real lion once roamed the back courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio as his home.
P.S. Did you know Michaelangelo was an archaeologist and antiquarian? He famously aided in the excavation of the infamous Lacoon statue nd based many of his bits and bobs on the types of Greco-Roman sculpture and architecture he encountered as part of the Vatican’s Renaissance archaeology Scooby-crew.
Bronzini’s Hidden Medici: Technology for Art’s Sake
Tucked into the bottom corner of one of Bronzini’s Italian masterpieces The Descent of Christ into Limbo (currently housed at the aforementioned Basilica Santa Croce) are a smattering of cleverly hidden members of Florence’s famed Medici family. Patrons of the art and technologies, their turbulent court propelled some of the greatest innovations in research and development in art, architecture, and technology. In our re-colored variant, a close up of the depiction of Eleanora of Toledo—Cosimo Medici’s famed Spanish wife and art connoisseur–beckons the audience to further consideration of the rest of the (here) obscured picture.
Technology for Archaeology’s Sake
The Roman Tyche: Technology for Archaeology’s Sake
Our technicolor coin emblem is created from the image of a 1st century AD Roman coin featuring a Tyche or city goddess. A personification of the city, these goddesses were the divine patrons of the city’s art, culture, and fate.
Fun fact: often their crowns depict the ancient skyline of their city.
The Star of Ishtar
Like the Roman Tyche coin, the Star of Ishtar medallion is a re-colored artifact. A Babylonian amulet from the 16th or 17th century BCE, this piece was found at Dilbut near Babylon in modern Iraq and currently resides in the Metropolitan museum as part of a hoard of golden objects depicting a variety of ancient divine symbols. The star on this particular piece is similar to Assyrian and later reliefs of the Star of Ishtar and earlier Sumerian reliefs of Inanna. Ishtar was the goddess of love and war, to whom no door could be barred or from whom information could be kept.
Infamously, when faced with the closed doors to the Aralu or Underworld, Ishtar declared:
Open the gate that I may enter. If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living.”
Which obviously, basically means if you don’t give her open access, she’ll bust out the zombies.