Between Art and Kitsch: Limburg’s Museum – From Roman eroticism to an outpouring – Between Art and Kitsch

Between Art and Kitsch / January 2, 2023

In the broadcast on Monday 2 January 2023 from the Limburgs Museum, Martijn Akkerman receives a brooch for between the breasts at the table, Karl Stimm clears up a misunderstanding about a “thumb” with stylized pubic hair and Tom Angevaren receives a nice set of mythical candlesticks under the eyes.

Vibrating brooch

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Brooch
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  • Image: two flowers
  • Origin: England
  • Date: about 1870
  • Material: brilliant cut diamonds
  • Measurements: 8 cm long

Mister inherited the brooch from his father. He was a bookkeeper in a prison for vagrants in Belgium. The vagrants had to work in the prison. At the entrance, they had to hand over their valuables. His father kept track of all that. Most arranged for them to be released for the summer so they could live outside and work in the fields. And in the winter they stole a bike or did something illegal so they were arrested again and could sleep warm.

In the 1950s, one of the vagrants handed in this brooch. When he came to collect his things, the tramp suggested that his father would not buy the brooch. Then the vagabond could buy 100 pints instead of 10 pints. His wife wore the brooch a few times when she was younger, but now she thinks it’s too showy and it’s in the safe.

Expert Martijn Akkerman says that this brooch was worn between the breasts. It kept shaking, they call it ‘en tremblant’. It drew attention to the lady’s bosom.

Phallus and gold coin

Phallus with stylized pubic hair

Gold coin

  • Image: a phallus with stylized pubic hair, on the stater is a horse
  • Origin: Celtic tribes of Northern France-Southern Belgium (Eburones)
  • Date: phallus 2nd century AD, coin before 50 BC (both Roman times)
  • Material: bronze and gold
  • Measurements: 3.5 cm long and 2 cm wide, coin 1.2 cm in diameter

Mister had a metal detector and searched three times a week until two years ago. He usually did this together with a fixed group of amateur archaeologists. He also studied the location of previous settlements and the presence of Romans. He always found something, but not always pretty.

He found the two objects in a field in Belgium nine years ago, where he had permission from the farmer. It is now at home in his display case, where 300 objects (from the last century to Roman and Celtic) can now be found.

Coins were a kind of war chest, says expert Karl Stimm. The troops who fought against Cesar had to be paid in gold. Very large treasures with staters have therefore been found. The horse depicted on it indicates that it was made by a North Celtic tribe, for example the Eburones. If Cesar advanced too quickly, the war chest would be buried in the ground. We find them now and then.

The owner thought the other object was a thumb. The expert Karl Stimm helps him out of the dream. It is a phallus with stylized pubic hair, an evil-repelling amulet. Among other things, it was a horse harness. It was a leather appliqué. There are many collectors of Roman erotica. ⇒ Japanese erotica and naughty art

A pair of candlesticks

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Two candlesticks
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  • Image: man and woman
  • Origin: Paris
  • Date: 1810-1815, Empire period
  • Material: gilded bronze
  • Dimensions: 52 cm high, 31 cm wide

The candlesticks come from an inheritance from her husband’s uncle. He was the director of a timber trade in Vlaardingen and received the candlesticks on his retirement. Mrs. bought his house and received these candlesticks.

The beauty of this couple, says expert Tom Angvaren, is that they are husband and wife. Usually angels are always depicted. These are two mythical figures. The man is Herakles or Hercules. This figure from Greek mythology had to perform twelve deeds, the first deed being to kill a lion. After strangling the lion with his bare hands, he wore the lion’s skin as impenetrable armor. It is unknown who the woman is, but she also comes from Greek mythology.

It was made during the Empire period in France. This can be seen in the construction of the feet and arms of the candlesticks. The candlesticks are made entirely of gold. They were used as a light source because there was no electric light at that time.

The bobbers are also still there, the dish on which the candle wax falls. These candlesticks always come in a pair. They are very decorative and are not common anymore.

Sent on Monday 2 January 2023 at 21:20 on NPO 1 (after that the broadcast can be seen again on NPO Start)

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