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An Afro-Spanish religion uses the Czech statue to represent one of its key figures One statue, two religions. The Infant of Prague is of course a world-famous Roman Catholic icon, and the original can be seen in Prague's Church of Our Lady Victorious. But Santo Niño Jesús de Praga has also worked

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skull-adorned altar-cloth, Romburk museum

Skull-adorned altar-cloth, Romburk museum

Over the years, the human skull has somehow represented almost everything – life and death, perilous danger and good luck. We see it worn by Hell’s Angels and Hello Kitty alike. I am far from a casual observer in this strange fashion phenomenon: even as I write I am surrounded by trinkets and textiles, all adorned with that grim and grinning motif. The skull’s association with the Gothic hardly needs much explanation – a culture that is nourished by an artistic fascination with the dead is sure to find beauty in one of the most consistently used symbols of death – a beauty backed up by centuries of funereal art. However, the fallacy that skull symbolism belongs to fans of the Gothic alone has caught me out before, assuming that skull-wearing acquaintances share a certain morbid outlook with me, only to realise that they are simply following fashions with little thought to the symbolism behind the design.

 From the twisting alleys and misted towers of Prague, Baba Studio brings an alternative view of the fantasy landscape where the dark history of old Prague meets the poetic decadence of the Bohemian lifestyle, swathed in the mysteries of the Gothic idyll…

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But just what is The Gothic?

The word does not fail to induce an immediate response in everyone who hears it.  Whether it’s medieval architecture, Victorian literature, post-punk music or exotic fashion, there are similar strands in all the varied things that the term has stood for. A certain darkness, yes. Something worthy of fear, but also of celebration – celebration through art.

This morbid yet enlightening fascination with the unknown has been influential in art throughout European history, painting city streets and soundscapes, sonnets and self-expression with its luxuriant blackness…