Issues in Representing Angels

Glenn Peers

in Subtle Bodies

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520224056
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925137 | DOI:
Issues in Representing Angels

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The iconography of angels is unique in Christian art in that it described the difficult flashes of epiphany of the formless angels allusively. The iconography of Christ and the saints presented their human forms, derived from corporeal lives on earth, as the iconography of the angels could not. While it is true that angels appropriated human form for some of their appearances on earth, this form was only one among many forms possible for angels. Christ and the saints had secure and comprehensible forms that persisted with a degree of stability throughout their lives on earth. In contrast, angels were unstable and, in the end, unknowable. Christian images depended on the life that the subject led on earth for their significance in cult since they stated historical likeness and actual presence in the stead of the person represented.

Keywords: Christian; Christ; saints; angels; iconography

Chapter.  15395 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Archaeology

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