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Friday, 26 February 2010

Monday, 22 February 2010

Warning! -- Pinkerbell

Warnings! -- OffsideinTahiti

Warning! -- Zephirine

Warnings! -- by File

The ever-inventive File has discovered this splendid site:

here are his first efforts:

you may like to make some of your own....

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Winged Beings, Various

I was going to write a poem about how much I dislike cherubs.   You know, these guys (on the left, by Raphael, on the right, by Poussin):

Cute chubby little toddlers with wings, who hang about in the corners of paintings.  They annoy me.

But it turns out that I was misinformed, not to say confused, for these are not cherubs, they're putti.

Cherubs, or to be correct cherubim, are much more impressive, being actually a kind of angel.  According to Wikipedia, they can look like this:

Cherubim have been described thus, based on early books in the Old Testament:  "they have four faces: one of each a man, an ox, a lion, and an eagle... They have four conjoined wings covered with eyes, and they have ox's feet."     No chubby little boys there, then.

What an interesting idea angels are. Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe in them. Medieval Christian theologians got them organised into hierarchical rankings with different tasks, based on interpretations of the scriptures (read all about the system here).

The Assumption of the Virgin, by Francesco Botticini, showing three hierarchies and nine orders of angels

In spite of the ox's foot stuff, angels acquired a pretty much uniform appearance in art: tall, handsome humanoids in nice robes with large, rather smart feathery wings, in white or various colours.

 The Annunciation by Petrus Christus

Of course, recently angels have been co-opted for all sorts of alternative belief systems, and if you Google Image search "angel" you will find some truly terrible art, as well as some that's downright strange:

The Wounded Angel by Hugo Simberg

But somehow the dignity of angels remains intact.  Unlike the dignity of putti, who never had any in the first place.

Please contribute your thoughts on angels, cherubim, seraphim and putti, in verse or prose as you prefer.
(While thinking, you might like to listen to Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis duetting in Handel's Let the Bright Seraphim )