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Cantos: The Rings of Hell and Heaven

Anne Fischer's take on Dante's "Divine Comedy" by way of beautifully intricate hand-carved and cast rings

by Graham Hiemstra in Style on 26 August 2013

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With a background in sculpture, drawing and design, any number of lines on NY-based artist Anne Fischer's CV are worth a closer look. Her Cantos: The Rings of Hell and Heaven collection, for example, is a supreme example of wearable art. On a recent visit to R 20th Century Gallery in NYC's TriBeCa neighborhood, CH had a chance to see a few examples of the hand-carved and hand-cast rings in sterling silver and gold. An ongoing series initially started in 2001, the Cantos collection is inspired by Dante Alighieri's epic 14th century poem the "Divine Comedy." Drawing on the strict structure of the poem—which moves purposefully from one encounter to the next, building off each as Dante travels through the three realms of the dead—the rings aim to translate this into sculptural objects that evolve from each other to tell a greater story.

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Using plaster, wax and precious metals, Fischer makes each ring individually with the lost-wax process and casts in 18k gold, sterling silver or a combination of the two. Each ring contains an intricately carved inscription and often an accompanying scene to reflect a specific moment in one of the poems 67 cantos. To date, Fischer has created just the first 23 objects in the series.

For more information on the series, visit Anne Fischer online, and to see the works in person visit NYC's R 20th Century Gallery where a selection of "Cantos: The Rings of Hell and Heaven" is currently available.

Images by Graham Hiemstra

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