By Waters, Clara Erskine Clement
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Additional resources for Angels
The representation of great numbers of angels, surrounding the Deity, the Trinity or the Glorified Virgin, is known as a Glory of Angels and is most expressive and poetical when aesthetically portrayed. A Glory, when properly represented, is composed of the hierarchies of angels in circles, each hierarchy in its proper order. 7 x 73 cm The National Gallery, London 38 39 with nine circles of angels, are exceedingly rare. Many artists worked with two or three, and sometimes even a single circle, thus experimenting with the symbol of the Glory.
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. Contrary to the portrayal of angelic orders, the representation of seraphs and cherubs often follows a uniform colour scheme. In a Glory, for example, the inner circle should be glowing red, the symbol of love; and the second should be blue, the shade of light, symbolising knowledge.
Seraphim and cherubim are usually represented by heads with one, Richard II Presented to the Virgin and Child by his Patron St. John the Baptist and SS. Edward and Edmund, also called The Wilton Diptych Named after Wilton House, c. 1395-1399 Egg on oak, 53 x 37 cm The National Gallery, London 30 31 two or three pairs of wings, which symbolise pure spirit, informed by love and intelligence. The head remains an emblem of the soul, love and knowledge. This manner of representing the two highest orders of angels is ancient, and in the earliest instances of their existence the faces are human, thoughtful and mature.
Angels by Waters, Clara Erskine Clement