Rococo: Distinctive and ornate style of 18th century French art and design, derived as a combination of rocaille (stone garden), and barocco (Italian Baroque). Often comprising of shell-shaped flourishes and embellishments, it was used to decorate both furniture and architecture, and is seen as a hugely influential in the expansion of European art.
Rod of Asclepius: Ancient Greek symbol associated with Asclepius, god of medicine and healing. Comprised of a serpent twined around a staff, it is believed that this represents the opposing nature of the physician; one who deals with both sickness and health – the shedding of snakeskin representative of physical rejuvenation, while the staff holds biblical connotations of resurrection.
Roku Kōmori: (Japanese); ‘six bats’.
Rosslyn Chapel: Nestled in the village of Roslin, Scotland, the Rosslyn Chapel, or Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, was founded by William Sinclair – descended from a noble ancestry of Norman knights. Used originally to celebrate the Divine Office and Holy Mass, its sealed crypts are rumoured to have held, at different times, the mummified head of Jesus; the Holy Grail; the treasures of the Knights Templar; and the Scottish crown jewels.
However, its most famous piece of architecture is the Apprentice Pillar. As legend would have it, the master stonemason who helped build the chapel did not believe that his apprentice could complete the pillar by himself. When he returned from his travels to find that his apprentice had carved the pillar unaided, in a fit of envious rage the master mason killed his student with a mallet-blow to the head. As a punishment, the master’s face was carved into the opposite pillar, the better to look upon his novice’s work forevermore. It is also suggested that the Apprentice Pillar represents the roots of the great tree of Nordic mythology, Yggdrasil.
Sabatier, Apollonie: French courtesan and thought-of as the muse for many artists, Apollonie owned a salon in 1850s Paris, in which she entertained the likes of Gustave Flaubert and Victor Hugo. Most notably, she was the inspiration for Charles Baudelaire’s famous poems, Les Fleurs du Mal.
Sacramentum: Traditionally, a Christian sacrament isbelieved to be “a visible sign of an invisible reality”; a physical, tangible symbol of divine faith, representative of the grace that is present within the soul of every true believer – a blessing from God to each of his followers. Most often, this blessing is bestowed in the form of sacred rites; the baptism of the body with water, or anointment with holy oil – a method of directly receiving salvation from the Holy Spirit itself.
Sacratum: (Latin); a hallowed or sacrosanct thing.
Sacred Heart, The: A symbolic devotion to Jesus’ physical heart, representative of not only his love for humanity, but also his sacrifice and intense suffering.