News

In search of the philosopher's stone. The most magical exhibition of the name of Harry Potter in New York

It’s hard to believe, but the first book about the “boy who survived” was released 20 years ago. In honor of this important date, the grandiose exhibition "Harry Potter: A History of Magic" opened in the New York Historical Society. Magical artifacts, a recipe for making a philosopher's stone, fantastic creatures, treasures from the collection of JK Rowling herself ... For fans of a series of books and films about a young wizard, this exhibition is almost like a tour of Hogwarts. Is that without live portraits and migratory ladders.In New York, the exhibition "Harry Potter: The Story of Magic" came from the British Library in London, where she managed to become the most attended event in the entire history of the institution. 20 years ago, the book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by an unknown writer, single mother, who had to shorten the name to initials in order not to scare readers away, became a real hit. During this time, the universe of a boy with a scar on his forehead has grown to an enormous scale: in addition to seven books directly about Harry Potter, "Tales of Bard Biddle" and "Fantastic Beasts" were published separately; Broadway production won the award "Tony"; several theme parks were opened, mountains of toy figures, striped scarves and medallions with the sign of "death gifts" were sold. In November 2018, the second film from the series “Fantastic Beasts” with a star cast was released. And every year the army of fans of the wizarding world created by Joan Rowling is only growing.Editions of the book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" from different years from all over the world. On the shelf below on the right, we see a book decorated by the famous artist Vladislav Yerko. Interviews with the master and even more work in the Arthive: “I embody everything I want to do in book illustrations.” Of course, the impressive part of the exhibition is taken by the history of the Harry Potter books themselves. Here you can see the early sketches of the writer, letters from publishers and, which is especially valuable, the illustrations of JK Rowling to The Philosopher's Stone. The storyline of the longest book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, with meticulously planned action for months, deserves special attention.Illustration by JK Rowling: Professor Snape, Harry and Ron in Potions class.Illustration by JK Rowling: Hogwarts Disciples and Poltergeist Peeves.Illustration of JK Rowling: Harry in the house of the Dursley family. Another valuable artifact at the exhibition is the work of the English botanist Nicholas Culpeper "The Complete Herbalist" (1653), on which Rowling relied, inventing magical potions and plants for her books. Next to it, you can see a picture of the XV century, depicting a deadly mandrake plant with roots in the shape of tiny people (Harry and his classmates looked after the young mandrakes in the greenhouses of Professor Sprout).

A page from the illustrated herbalist Giovanni Kadadosto (c. XV cent.). Instructions for extracting mandrake root, which can cure many diseases, but squeals deafeningly if you try to remove it from the ground. Therefore, healers were advised to tie a dog to the plant, move away to a safe distance and call the animal. Then the mandrake's murderous cry will fall on the dog, and the person will remain unharmed and be able to use the root to make medicine.

A fragment of the Liber Medicinalis manuscript (ca. XIII century), which contains the first known mention of the “abracadabra” spell. Among other interesting objects in the exposition is a real bezoar (“stone” from the goat stomach, which was considered a powerful antidote) and even one of diaries of Leonardo da Vinci.Bezoar in a gold filigree case. Photo: Wellcome Collection, Science Museum, London.The page of one of the famous "mirror" diaries of Leonardo da Vinci, on which the famous artist and scientist writes that the moon is covered with water and the Earth is the center of the Universe. The exhibition focuses on how the events described in the Harry Potter books overlap with real "history of magic." For example, the very first image of a witch with a cauldron of 1489 is adjacent to a real rusted cauldron from the collection of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall. There is also a real witch broom here and you won’t believe it! - the invisible cloak from the “private collection” (more precisely, a partially invisible hanger, obviously, in those places where it is hidden under a magic cloth).

This pretty colorful broom belonged to a witch named Olga Hunt, who lived in the twentieth century in English Devon. According to eyewitnesses, in the full moon a woman galloped on this broom through the hills of Dartmoor, which led to a great deal of confusion for couples and tourists. The broom is kept in the Museum of Sorcery and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall.

Of course, most of the exposition is represented by illustrations for various editions of the Harry Potter books and numerous portraits of heroes, which were written, of course, by experts and connoisseurs of the series. So, for example, in the portrait of Severus Snape, made by Jim Kay, you can see several details in which important details about Professor Hogwarts are ciphered. The mole in the bottle symbolizes that Snape was spying on the Death Eaters in favor of Dumbledore, and the sprig of lily of the valley (in English - lily of the valley) reminds of Severus's love for Lily Potter.Jim Kay Portrait Portrait is a realistic genre depicting a person or a group of people existing in reality. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read more on Professor Remus Lupine.Jim Kay Portrait Portrait is a realistic genre depicting a person or a group of people existing in reality. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read more Professor Severus Snape. The city of New York itself also plays an important role in the world of magic and wizardry. In the movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where They Live”, the United States Magical Congress was located in the Woolworth Building in Manhattan. The majestic 57-story building, declared a national historic landmark, has become an ideal choice for filmmakers due to the magnificent mosaics in the lobby - including those depicting phoenixes. Originally from New York and two huge statues of owls guarding the entrance to the exhibition. They were created in the early twentieth century by order of the New York Herald's editor James Gordon Bennett Jr., who allegedly loved owls so much that he even kept live birds in his office.A fragment of a mosaic in the lobby of Woolworth Building.A page from the bestiary with a description of the phoenix. The exhibition organizers have taken the trouble to collect an incredible amount of a variety of objects, one way or another related to the magic world created by Joan Rowling. There is a horn of a unicorn (in fact, narwhal) and a “stuffed mermaid” (skillfully made from the body of carp, wood and chicken claws). The last exhibit is accompanied by an early draft of Rowling to the Secret Room, in which Harry and Ron in a flying machine do not crash into a warlike tree, but fall into Hogvartskoye Lake, from where a mermaid saves them."Mermaid" from the London Horniman Museum. Not too much like the beautiful creatures that seduced sailors.Flying Ford Anglia in the film "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". One of the most impressive exhibits of the exhibition is Ripley's Scroll of Yale - a six-meter instruction for creating a philosopher's stone, capable of bestowing infinite wealth and eternal life to the owner. The exposition also included the tombstone of the French alchemist Nicolas (Nicholas) Flamel, who, according to legend, was the only person who revealed the secret of the philosopher's stone. His name is mentioned in the first Harry Potter book, which says that Flamel lived to 665 years (in fact, he lived about 80, but until the beginning of the XIX century the alchemist was allegedly declared in different parts of the world).Fragment of Ripley's Scroll.The tombstone of Nicolas Flamel. The Legend of the Philosopher's Stone has another important symbolic meaning in the Harry Potter book series. According to alchemical treatises, to obtain this valuable artifact, you first need to create black, white and red stones, and then combine them. Replacing the dead parents, JK Rowling gives Harry three protectors, each representing one of these colors: Sirius Black (black), Albus Dumbledore (white) and Rubeus Hagrid (red).Hagrid, Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall with baby Harry. The exhibition "Harry Potter: A History of Magic" will last in the New York Historical Society until January 27, 2019. Art: read us in Telegram and look on Instagram
Author: Evgeny Sidelnikov. Based on artnet.com.