Friday, June 30, 2017

Saint Peter's Lantern

I love hanging lanterns. I have a number of them in my house, one of which I furnished with an artificial flame. These items derive from the imperial decor of ancient Rome and have been part of Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches since the beginning of the religion, since they belonged to the non-Christian world before it. Saint Peter's in Rome is filled with them, mostly made of gilded bronze with an artificial flame at the top. I did this pencil study of a particularly ornate one on my Saint Peter's sketching expedition. After all, for a believer, the Lord is your light. It must have been quite a job keeping all these oil or wax lamps lit in pre-electricity days.

Original sketch is pencil on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 8", July 11, 1975.


George Miler said...

I used to collect them. Now I'm down to one "Moroccan" lantern which is bogus, it's a brass lantern with colored glass panes like the ones I've seen in Big Lots shops catering to customers from campus. Those are really made in India. No flame burned brightly enough but I did install a bulb which created the right mood. Trouble was, it had an extension cord. There was some wiggle room since the hatch was not a tight fit, but it must have damaged the cord anyway. So now it hangs empty. I may get rid of it along with the wind chimes that no longer swing in the wind. The porch was renovated and the hook was removed along with the board it was in. I don't have the gumption to screw another hook in. I'm on the second floor.

Your picture reminds me of an ornate lamp I once owned. It was a replica, of course. Many upscale decor catalogs offered these. I splurged on some Egyptian revival knick-knacks as well.

Texchanchan said...

It's a beautiful lantern.

Reminds me, though it's only similar in being a lantern, of something in "Nomadic Furniture." It was a chain of Chinese lanterns, the paper kind that accordion up, with lights inside. Hung from the ceiling. Take it down, take out the lights, and the stack folds into a small volume.

And that reminds me of something we had in the 80s. We called it the DNA lamp. It was two lengths of translucent dryer hose spiraled around each other, with Christmas lights in them. The whole thing was about 5 feet tall.