Continuing on (backwards) you enter “The Saved.” You might feel a bit dirty leaving “The Damned” so cleanse yourself here. You can see Pope Paul VI’s golden cross, Pope Leo XIII’s chairs and a golden chalice. The religious iconography represents the strong ties to the Catholic Church that have always been and remain integral to life in New Orleans. Even if you are not religious you cannot help but appreciate the craftsmanship of the pieces.
“Temptation” includes paintings, vases and figurines meant to show those who have been led by temptation and to titillate the viewer. “The Peeping Roofers” and “The Woman’s Bath” looks like it could have painted depicting a scene from a building just down the street from the gallery.
There are also snakes, because what do we equate temptation with more than that serpent from Eden? My favorite in “Temptation” is “Nu Couché” (Reclining Nude) by Delphin Enjolras. I could wake to this painting every morning for the rest of my life and not tire of it.
Ending up at the beginning you find “Innocence.” Intrinsically the idea of innocence includes an allusion to sin. As light is to dark, without the other neither would exist. This is displayed throughout this part of the exhibition. You can see it in the August Rodin sculpture depicting Innocence being tormented by Cupid. There is also a nearly four foot tall white marble sculpture of Little Red Riding Hood by Joseph Gott, again highlighting the need for temptation to highlight innocence.
This entire exhibition was conceptualized and installed by the staff of M.S. Rau Antiques. It is something that could easily be a featured exhibit in any museum in the world, but you can find it at 630 Royal Street in the French Quarter. “Virtue & Vice” runs until June 9th, 2018 and is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. You can find more information on the exhibition at their website https:// www.rauantiques.com/