Angels, Archangels and All the Company of Heaven (Art & Design)

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9783791314822: Angels, Archangels and All the Company of Heaven (Art & Design)
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This text examines 100 of the most famous and popular depictions of angels in the history of art. All are illustrated in colour, together with details of each artist and the background of the work in which they appear. Gottfried Knapp demonstrates the different ways angels have been portrayed in art, how art reflects contemporary views on religion and the radical changes that have occurred in the past. Angels have long been used by artists to imbue their work with a sense of the divine. In the middle ages they were predominantly represented as men. By the time of the Renaissance, theologians had agreed upon a hierarchy for the company of heaven in which cherubim and seraphim held the highest rank. Then, in descending order, were: thrones, dominations, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels and angels. The angels were frequently depicted as women and children, and their number appeared to reflect the artist's view of the spiritual importance of the subject, particularly in manuscript and book illumination. However, the most popular have always been the baroque representations of small, fat cherubim - winged putti, high-spirited and roguish. In our century, Marc Chagall's colourful, glowing angels have given expression to human love and divine grace. The word "angel" comes from the Greek word angelos, meaning "messenger", and save for their depiction in art, angels were considered to be bodiless minds or spirits. Angels are not restricted to Christianity; they also appear in Judaism and Islam - and always as intermediaries between God and humankind. Gottfried Knapp writes of this angelic world. Whether in painting or in sculpture, in book illumination or in film, in fiction or in non-fiction, angels have continued to fascinate and delight artists and art lovers through the ages.

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