The Vatican’s Musician Angels

During this, the Christmas season, we see trees all around, often with angels sitting atop them.  Consider these other angels, which are waiting for you year-round.

You’ve probably seen glimpses of the “Musician Angels” from art books or cards over the years.

Musical angel, with a lute
Angel with a lute

When in Rome, go see them together in the Vatican Pinacoteca (Art Gallery).

Musical angel
Musical angel

These battered frescoes are bits and pieces of a much larger composition, “Christ in Glory between Angels and Apostles,” by Melozzo da Forlì (1438-1494).  The fresco once decorated the apse of the Church of the 12 Holy Apostles (Basilica dei Santi Apostoli), near Piazza Venezia.

Musical angel
Angel with a tambourine

These angels depict the ideal beauty of the Renaissance: pale with flowing blond locks, dressed in sumptuous colors, with serene expressions. The artist used the technique of foreshortening, an optical illusion that makes an object appear shorter than it actually is because it is angled toward the viewer.

Angel with a drum
Angel with a drum

Absolutely beautiful. Not everyone goes through the Pinacoteca, but it’s well worth it, and not just for the lovely angels. As you view them, one can readily see how these angels influenced some of Italy’s greatest artists, such as Raphael and Michelangelo.

Little plump angels
Little plump angels

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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