By Waters, Clara Erskine Clement
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Extra resources for Angels
They were represented as surrounding divine beings, and the Virgin enthroned, or in Glory. Annunciation Fra Filippo Lippi, c. 1445 Wood, 175 x 183 cm Martelli Chapel, San Lorenzo, Florence 60 61 What was known as a Liturgy of Angels was most effective and beautiful. It consisted of a procession of angels on each side of the choir, apparently approaching the altar, all wearing the stole and alba of a deacon, and bearing the implements of the mass. The statues of kneeling angels, often placed on each side the altar, holding tapers, or the emblems of the Passion of Christ, were not mere decorations, but symbolised the angelic presence wherever Christ is worshipped.
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. 1422 Tempera on wood, 115 x 177 cm Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence 34 35 since Daniel says “they had wings like a fowl”. Is it not more desirable, however, to see angel-wings rather than bird-wings?
The nine choirs of angels also frequently appear in ancient frescoes, mosaics and sculptures. Sometimes each choir has three figures, thus symbolising the Trinity; again, two figures stand for each choir, and occasionally nine figures signify the three hierarchies. In the final representation careful attention was given to colours as well as to symbols. Madonna and Child with St. Anne Tommaso Masaccio, c. 1424 Tempera on panel, 175 x 103 cm Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence 40 41 The Princedoms and Powers of Heaven are represented by rows and groups of angels all adorned in the same dress and tiara and bearing the orb of sovereignty and sceptre-like wands.
Angels by Waters, Clara Erskine Clement