This seasonal artwork from mid-eighteenth century Germany shows an Easter egg decorated with an image of the resurrected Christ quashing death and the devil. The oval tomb underscores the implicit parallel between the Resurrection and new life hatching from the egg. In translation, the pious poem surrounding the egg reads:
“This newly laid Easter egg / Just discovered in the nest / Shows you that death and devil have been / Overcome by Christ.
“Let your heart, oh child of man / Take pleasure in this egg / Follow Jesus, avoiding sin / He will not let you fall.”
According to John Brand, Observations on Popular Antiquities, I (London: Charles Knight, 1841): 98, such prints were occasionally given as gifts at Easter in Germany, instead of eggs. At only 74 x 111 mm (around 3 x 4.5 inches) it is probably best understood as a forerunner of today’s greeting cards. In contrast to the fleeting delights of edible treats, the print continues to offer spiritual nourishment two and a half centuries after its creation.
What better way to celebrate Guarini’s birthday on 17 January than with a raucous visit to Palazzo Carignano? Complete with movie stars and the police trying to break down the door! Just watch this clip from The Italian Job(1969), starring Michael Caine and directed by Peter Collinson. The interior for this scene of the gold robbery was filmed in the atrium of Palazzo Carignano, but the exterior used is actually the Palazzo di Città (Turin’s city hall) and its piazza, located several blocks away. If you look carefully beyond the atrium arcade, you get nice views of the palace courtyard in some shots.
With apologies for the commercial interruptions in the film clip.
Map: Turin, historic center, with the following placemarks: Francesco Lanfranchi, Palazzo di Città (now Palazzo Civico), 1659-63 (upper left); Guarino Guarini, Palazzo Carignano, 1679-93 (lower right)