Just in time for the holidays, Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper reports:
… this week, a leading Catholic Church “angeologist” tried to put an end to the angel-with-wings business – an imagery that has been reinforced, as he explained, by New Age movements where depictions of angels with wings is common.
Angels do not have wings – nor do they look like cherubs, Rev. Renzo Lavatori told Agence France-Presse at a conference in Rome.
“You do not see angels so much as feel their presence,” he said.
“They are a bit like sunlight that refracts on you through a crystal vase,” he added.
So, there you have it. Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo — all of those Renaissance phonies (and LIARS!), in fact — have been misrepresenting the “reality” of the angel to us. I sense Dan Brown sitting in a cafe somewhere, plotting a sequel to The Da Vinci Code that will be a takedown of those Renaissance propagandists, and may I suggest Clipped Wings™ as a great title.
Interesting bit about the sunlight, though, because that’s often something depicted in Renaissance-era paintings as a metaphor for the virgin birth (i.e. God’s “light” penetrating the Virgin Mary/glass vase, without “compromising” her/the vase). A good example of this symbolism comes in Fra Filippo Lippi’s “Annunciation” (1442) in Florence’s Basilica di San Lorenzo:
By the way, why is this info about angels and wings important? Well, according to recent polls, more Americans believe in angels (77%) than evolution (47%) or global warming (70%). On that note, we can all probably use a drink of spiked eggnog about now.
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