Wednesday, April 3, 2013

For the curious

photo Gésbi/Le style et la matière

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - 
the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
Albert. Einstein

Last weekend I visited the cathedral and museum of Sens. The museum holds many items of great artistry and beauty - and  this case of curiosties. An assortment très comme-il-faut of its kind:
a mutant lamb, an ostrich egg, an elaborate embroidery, 2 still born skeletons, an intricate lock, coral, coco fesses (sea coconut has a more colorful name in French = fanny coconut), a tribal headress,
birds of many colors -
in short, wonders of man and nature.

I'd saved the above quote sometime back.
I thought I'd place it  here, even if a cabinet de curiosités has a trophy case side
and our gaze on it somewhat voyeuristic.
What we find mysterious may differ through time, but it's a needed emotion.
Even when things get a little weird.

New post at St Tyl: Wooly Desks


  1. Gesbi, I think we are connected somehow. I got a book for Christmas about Victorians and their curriosity cabinets. I too collect bits and bobs and everything under the sun. I have them scattered about my house and in drawers. I need to get a large display case to display them in.

  2. That is the nicesst thing about blogs, Donna - making connections.
    I do think you should find a display area to gather your curios. As I keep finding reason to repeat lately, 'the sum of the whole is greater than its parts!'

  3. Very timely, Madame Le Style. My brother-in-law got the family's curiosity cabinet which had 3-D birds carved into the top. In our new dining room/library my plan is create our own. Have you seen Oly's Simone Cabinet?

    Can you see it now? I've been gathering books on collectors for inspiration. I'll leave the furry/feathery finds for others, but like instruments, tools, glass making things. This cabinet will be my final victory for overcoming Hitchcock's The Birds anxiety!

  4. In our house stuff tends to get closed off behind doors then on the biannual (sometimes bi-monthly) clean out it goes. I suspect we might be the only two guys who have a cupboard devoted solely to storing pillows that are too good to get rid of and too much of a mistake to have out.

    Personal cabinets of curiosity are always private, don't you think?

  5. yes, something about curio cases. last time i went to the science museum in london, despite all the fancy new high tech displays, the most crowded and compelling rooms were those that contained the glass cases and the exotic birds just beyond reach. somehow the barrier enhances that experience of mystery - and the fact that such creatures actually did and do exist in our time and space but at some remove is much more fascinating to us. so near and yet so far.....

  6. Madame de HbD: Oh, I liked that! Poetic and yes, slightly menacing. I hope your Psycho-therapy won't include a frieze of knives in the bathroom.

    Blue: Private and even secret - with occasional VIP invitations. No wonder your appartment is so beautiful with all that clearing out. I'll bet you can show some nice etchings when you want though.

  7. Mlle Paradis: That's just it, and somehow we hold that world and have a hand in arranging it. I'm sure you have a few items...!