Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Gothic Art in Spotlight: The Fallen Angels

Since I visited about 10 art museums on my vacation in New York, there is a lot of material for a few Gothic Art in Spotlight -posts. Lucky for me it is not like these artworks get outdated, even if I post about them two months later! Today's spotlight is reserved for biblical characters.

This statue was made by Salvatore Albano, an Italian sculptor from the 19th century. The title of the work is The Fallen Angels and it was done in two parts; the base is from 1883 and the marble part is from 1893. This statue is owned by the Brooklyn Museum in New York. It is one of the biggest art museums in the United States along with MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
These fallen angels are situated in the main lobby of the museum. They are surrounded by vast emptiness and light that comes from the windows high up in the ceiling. In the sign that tells a little about the artwork it says the next:

"At the apex of this sculptural group, a sword-wielding Satan struggles alongside his rebel angels against God and his army (both absent) in heaven. -- " 

I am quite confident that the Brooklyn Museum has situated this statue intentionally in the lobby under those windows that are letting the light from sky (heaven) to descend on The Fallen Angels, simulating the army of heaven and their power over this small group of rebels.
In the base is a defeated angel and according to the museum's sign it is probably Satan again. I am not arguing against it, especially since the sign also points out that having a continuing narrative in a sculpture was common in the ancient Roman sculptures that were the source of inspiration for the artist Salvatore Albano. As you can see from this photo, the defeated Satan no longer has wings, though the one still trying to fight has a handsome pair of feathery appendage.
These close-ups show how vivid and full of emotion these characters are. According to the little sign, there are snakes squirming in their hair but for me it was hard to spot with those hairs being a bit curly.
 In this next photo one snake is visible, it is on Satan's head and looks a bit like a horn sticking up. It is in fact a snake's head. The characters are otherwise classically beautiful and without knowing the name of this work and hence not knowing these are fallen angels, the snakes are the only clue for it in the actual statue. Without the snakes this could be a graceful group of angels fighting something else than God of Christians.
Hope you enjoyed my post, next time it is time for a Creepy Reads Review!

8 comments:

  1. I love this post. Very interesting observations, especially how the museum placed these statues by the window to have the light shine on them. Have fun in NYC

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  2. Beautiful sculpture! Also, Satan is darker than the rest of them!

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    1. Especially when he is beaten down. :DD

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  3. The statue looks like a phenomenal piece of work. I love the fierce rage of the angel's face of holding the sword and the angel whose is being sat on and biting down on his finger.

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    1. True, the expressions are amazing! ^^

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  4. may i ask... are you allowed to take pictures in american museums? i am sure you are not in german museums so im wondering :-)
    and an awesome statue for sure, some pieces of art will not need much light to look great!

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    1. Yes you are but of coarse without flash. I would not share publicly photos that I weren't allowed to take! :D

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