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Candice Alexander Art Studio

Mardi Gras 2024 - A Journey Through Time

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"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"
Discover the inspiration behind the "Journey Through Time!"
With roots going back to Medieval Europe, Mardi Gras made its way through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th Century to France’s royal Bourbon House.  The evidence points to 1699 as the first year Mardi Gras arrived to America.  It is believed that french explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’iberville and Sieur de Bienville landed near New Orleans on the eve of this holiday that is now celebrated by many cultures across the globe.

In the spirit of the early explorer’s quest for knowledge, Alexander investigates the origins of Mardi Gras through to its present day incarnation as it’s observed across Louisiana.  The artist’s inspiration for 2024’s Mardi Gras work came from studying two key masterpieces. 

Feast of the Gods by the Father of Venetian art, Giovani Bellini, is considered one of the greatest Renaissance paintings in America.  Located in Washington, D.C., it hangs in the National Gallery of Art and portrays Jupiter (father of the goddess Minerva) and other Roman gods celebrating a bacchanal.  This scene is incorporated into the background of Alexander’s work.

The second key piece is the Mosaic of Minerva by Elihu Vedder located in the U.S. Library of Congress.  Minerva, the Roman goddess of Wisdom was also associated with peace and prosperity.  She is represented in Alexander’s work holding an ancient Roman coin.   Today, replicas of this coin are tossed down to parade attendees from Mardi Gras floats. 

If one looks closely, hidden symbols of Minerva and other items may be discovered in the artist’s work.  Minerva’s owl represents wisdom while the serpent is an emblem of her father, Jupiter, as described in Aesop’s Fables.  The olive tree branches seen above the muse’s Crown of Flowers are connected with peace, supplication, and early Christian art.  
Alexander’s muse heralds in the 2024 Mardi Gras season with appreciation for medieval traditions, recognition of Mardi Gras arrival to Louisiana (represented by the gas light), and anticipation for 
this season’s festivities. 

“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

-Written by the muse.