This strange and incongruous wall relief and text that I photographed in Mexico reminds me of discussions with my past art history students about angels. When we explored the Renaissance I always asked them what sex they thought angels were. Most students believed that angels were male – the intellectuals of the class believed they were unisex or hermaphrodites. I also asked what they thought about the make up of angel wings, the nature of halos, where angels obtained their cool outfits and did they live in nests? Their ideas were legion and creative – in terms of wings (the other questions I might deal with in another post) students thought angel wings could be like bird wings OR be of an unspecified leather type substance like fantasy creatures such as flying dragons OR be custom made by Leonardo…
Even though quite non-angelic, the double ended wall relief shown above could symbolize the ambiguous nature of traditional angels. The concept of angels may be as fantastical as Hobbits or Alice’s grinning cat but we need to accept them as factual iconic participants in paintings of our cultural past.
The New Age and UFO movements have written volumes about El Angel but we all secretly have our own ideas. What do you think of when you think of angels?
The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.