St. Valentine’s Day, then and now

February 14, 2014

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February 14 is here again, and although the origin of St. Valentine’s Day is a little weird, it’s hard not to miss the staying power of this celebration. Originally a pagan fertility rite celebrated in ancient Rome, Lupercalia was later co-opted by the church as Christianity took hold, and eventually a priest and martyr (Valentinus) and the Roman god of love (Cupid) were woven into the folklore that surrounds this celebration. The day’s modern customs, giving roses and chocolates, sending greeting cards, and adorning nearly every suitable surface with hearts, developed in Britain in the 19th century and eventually followed the Union Jack, spreading all over the world.

Although the public flogging of women was phased out, the matchmaking component—young men of ancient Rome drew the names of young ladies from jar—continues. Sam Cooke sang about it in Cupid, a catchy and memorable 1961 hit that endures today and spawned at least a dozen covers.

An architect recently picked up where Cooke left off. Using a goodly supply of aluminum tubing, powder-coated in the only conceivable colors, Noah Marciniak came up with a St. Valentine’s Day concept that looks like an iconic heart when viewed from some angles and a tangled mess viewed from others.

Marciniak, a member of Young Projects, added a little twist to the traditions. Rather than rely on the randomness of selecting a name from a jar, he relies on the cosmos to help singles find a good match. The sculpture includes several tubes adorned with the signs of the zodiac and aimed at the heavens, allowing visitors to get an assist from astrology in finding a mate.

Like most projects, this one is a culmination of efforts. Marciniak’s sculpture was assembled by a Brooklyn-based fabricator, Kammetal, and powder-coated in an array of eye-catching shades of red and pink by Trojan Powder Coating, Bay Shore, N.Y.

No word yet on whether the sculpture has helped in any romantic pairings, but it will be on display in Times Square until March 11, so who knows?



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Eric Lundin

Editor
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