Artefacts Return Candle
French, c. 1764
Ambergris, oakmoss, powdered tobacco, labdanum resin, muguet, suede, and honeybrush
"It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection." Here Voltaire playfully subverts the spiritual authority of the Roman Catholic Church by summoning the idea of reincarnation - a notion made fashionable in his time by the increasingly relevant philosophical heritage of Plato and the mystery schools of Ancient Greece. Imagine for a moment being a devout Catholic aristocrat residing at court, pondering questions of rebirth while looking into the limpid eyes of a newborn child.