Angels by Waters, Clara Erskine Clement

By Waters, Clara Erskine Clement

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Evidently, these illustrations fail Madonna del Belvedere Ottaviano Nelli di Martino, 1404 Tempera on stone Santa Maria Nuova, Gubbio 32 33 to convey the original, spiritual significance of the seraphic and cherubic head. 20: “And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat”. In Ezekiel, we read that “their wings were stretched upward when they flew; when they stood they let down their wings”. There is, no doubt, scriptural authority for representing angels’ wings in the most realistic manner, Adoration of the Magi Lorenzo Monaco, c.

Adoration of the Lamb (The Ghent Altarpiece, central panel) Jan van Eyck, 1425-1429 Oil on wood, 350 x 461 cm (open), 350 x 223 cm (closed) Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent 44 45 However by the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century, this colour law had become less observed, and it was not unusual to see the wings of cherubim in various colours. Raphael’s world-renowned Madonna exemplifies this very change. The entire background of the painting is composed of lightly-painted seraphs and cherubs that almost blend into the golden-tinted background of the painting.

In the same manner, in many old churches, angels carved in marble, stone or wood, and painted on glass, in frescoes on walls, and in smaller pictures, fill all spaces, Madonna of the Rose Bush Stephan Lochner, c. 1440 Oil on panel, 51 x 40 cm Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne 58 59 and are figures of beauty. However, as the stricter theological observances prevailed, angels were not permitted as mere decorations, but were as also utilised as didactical tools, employed to reiterate the beliefs and teachings of the Church.

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