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Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art

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Author Topic: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art  (Read 1734 times)
Demon Queen
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« Reply #60 on: June 23, 2009, 01:26:01 pm »

It was not uncommon to represent angels in carving and stained glass in the latter part of the fifteenth century as feathered all over like birds.

Cloud Symbol of the "Sky" or "Air."—Artists of the Mediæval and Renaissance periods, following classical authority, employed the cloud symbol of the sky or

p. 39

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« Reply #61 on: June 23, 2009, 01:26:13 pm »

air in their allegories and sacred pictures of divine persons, saints, and martyrs, to denote their divine or celestial condition, as distinguished from beings "of the earth—earthy." The adoption of the little cloud underneath the feet, when the figure is not represented flying, naturally suggested itself as the most fitting emblem for a support, and avoided the apparent incongruity of beings in material human shape standing upon nothing. The suggestion of the aerial support here entirely obviates any thought of the outrage on the laws of gravity.

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« Reply #62 on: June 23, 2009, 01:26:23 pm »

Another distinguishing attribute is the Nimbus—an emblem of divine power and glory—placed behind or over the head. The crown is an insignia of civil power borne by the laity; the nimbus is ecclesiastical and religious. The pagans were familiar with the use of the nimbus, which appears upon the coins of some of the Roman Emperors. It was widely adopted by the Early Christian artists, and up till the fifteenth century was represented as a circular disc or plate behind the head, of gold or of various colours, and, according to the shape and ornamentation of the nimbus, the elevation or the divine degree of the person was denoted. It was displayed behind the heads of the Persons of the Trinity and of angels. It is also worn as a mark of honour and distinction by saints and martyrs. At a later period, when the traditions of early art were to some extent laid aside, i.e., from the fifteenth century until towards the end of the seventeenth century, as M. Dideron informs us,

 

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« Reply #63 on: June 23, 2009, 01:26:41 pm »

a simple unadorned ring, termed a "circle of glory," "takes the place of the nimbus and is represented as hovering over the head. It became thus idealised and transparent, showing an outer circle only; the field or disc is altogether omitted or suppressed, being 
drawn in perspective and formed by a simple thread of light as in the Disputer of Raphael. Sometimes it is only an uncertain wavering line resembling a circle of light. On the other hand, the circular line often disappears as if it were unworthy to enclose the divine light emanating from the head. It is a shadow of flame, circular in form but not permitting itself to be circumscribed."

Although the forms of angels are of such frequent occurrence in Mediæval Art they seem to abound more especially in the fifteenth century. Angels are seen in every possible combination, with ecclesiastical and domestic architecture, and form the subject of many allusions in heraldry. They are frequently used as supporters.

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« Reply #64 on: June 23, 2009, 01:27:07 pm »

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« Reply #65 on: June 23, 2009, 01:30:45 pm »

Charles Boutell, M.A., "English Heraldry,"

p. 41

p. 247, says, regarding angels used as supporters to the armorial shield: "The introduction of angelic figures which might have the appearance of acting as guardian angels’ in their care of shields of arms, was in accordance with the feelings of the early days of English heraldry; and, while it took a part in leading the way to 
the systematic use of regular supporters, it served to show the high esteem and honour in which armorial insignia were held by our ancestors in those ages." And reference is made to examples sculptured in the noble timber roof of Westminster Hall and elsewhere. As an example we give the shield of arms of the Abbey of St. Albans.

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« Reply #66 on: June 23, 2009, 01:31:10 pm »

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« Reply #67 on: June 23, 2009, 01:32:13 pm »

Figures of angels holding shields of arms, each figure having a shield in front of its breast, are frequently sculptured in Gothic churches. They appear on seals, as on that of Henry of Lancaster about 1350, which has the figure of an angel on each side of it. The shield of Richard II. at Westminster Hall, bearing the arms of France ancient and England quarterly, is supported by angels, which, if not

p. 42

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« Reply #68 on: June 23, 2009, 01:32:23 pm »

rather ornamental than heraldic, were possibly intended to denote his claim to the crown of France, being the supporters of the Royal arms of that kingdom. Upon his Great Seal other supporters are used. There are also instances of the shield of Henry VI. being supported by angels, but they are by some 
authorities considered as purely religious symbols rather than heraldic.

The supporters of the King of France were two angels standing on clouds, all proper, vested with taberts of the arms, the dexter France, the sinister Navarre, each holding a banner of the same arms affixed to a tilting-spear, and the cri de guerre or motto, "Mont-joye et St. Denis." The shield bears the impaled arms of France and Navarre with several orders of knighthood, helmet, mantling and other accessories, all with a pavilion mantle.

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« Reply #69 on: June 23, 2009, 01:32:38 pm »

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« Reply #70 on: June 23, 2009, 01:32:51 pm »

Although Francis II., Charles IX., Henry III. and IV. and Louis XIII. had special supporters of their arms, yet they did not exclude the two angels of Charles VI., which were considered as the ordinary supporters of the kingdom of France. Louis XIV., Louis XV. and Louis XVI . never used any others.

p. 43

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« Reply #71 on: June 23, 2009, 01:33:10 pm »

Verstegan quaintly says that Egbert was "chiefly moved" to call his kingdom England "in respect of Pope Gregory changing the name of Engelisce into Angellyke," and this "may have moved our kings upon their best gold 
coins to set the image of an angel." *


". . . Shake the bags
 Of hoarding abbots; their imprisoned angels
 Set them at liberty."
  Shakespeare,
   King John, iii. 3.
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« Reply #72 on: June 23, 2009, 01:33:26 pm »

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« Reply #73 on: June 23, 2009, 01:33:38 pm »

The gold coin was named from the fact that on one side of it was a representation of the archangel in conflict with the dragon (Rev. xii. 7). The reverse had a ship. It was introduced into England by Edward IV. in 1456. Between his reign and that of Charles I. it varied in value from 6s. 8d. to 10s.



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« Reply #74 on: June 23, 2009, 01:33:56 pm »

Footnotes
43:* "Restit. of Decayed Intell. in Antiq." p. 147.



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