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Posts Tagged ‘angels’

I’m excited to share that now available at The Book Shop at Trinity Church in Copley Square, this mug and two different magnets depicting a photograph I took of the stained glass window, David’s Charge to Solomon.  As described in an earlier post, the window was designed by Edward Burne-Jones and executed by William Morris.  The entire window is of course fantastic but for me, with camera in-hand, it is the light streaming through these angels that draws my eyes.  To see these items and other lovely merchandise, visit the Book Shop in the undercroft (basement) of the church, or you can contact the Shop by phone at 617.536.0944 extension 225.

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This scene is a detail from the Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris stained glass window, David’s Charge to Solomon, 1882.  The window, designed by Burne-Jones and executed by Morris, is located in the baptistry of Trinity Church in Copley Square. I was drawn to this particular section because of the colors, the incredible drapery of the cloth, and the faces of the women.

The faces of these women and apparently the faces of many of the women in Burne-Jones’s post-1860’s artwork all have a similar look.  They are likely the face of his great love and muse, Maria Zambaco.  She appears to have been the muse for many of the Pre-Raphaelite artists.  This wikipedia article gives a broad overview of the Burne-Jones/Zambaco relationship, but I must say that this Oxford Today article referencing Fiona MacCarthy gives a much richer picture of a complicated man, his many muses and the influence of his art.

Study by Burne-Jones, c. 1870

Study by Burne-Jones, c. 1870

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This morning I had a dream about two wonderfully portly smiling charcoal-skinned angels.  Now I know how the brain can pull together all sorts of images and concepts in an attempt to help one stay in bed.  I had already hit the alarm twice.  My brain was working overtime to keep me settled in the warmth.  You see, I do have a dark angel in the house — a holiday ornament of a little brown girl with close cropped hair.  For days I had been humming that song by Radiohead about black eyed angels swimming with me. And yesterday a certain painter hinted that he was feeling inspired by William Blake.  So, of course, I had pulled up William Blake images to view his vision of humanity in all its earthy, robust glory. So why wouldn’t I dream of black-eyed, dark-skinned angels smiling at me? Later I decided to take a break in my day and google such a scene.  Imagine my surprise at what I found.

In the late 1890s, photographer George N. Barnard had photographed the daily life of South Carolina’s denizens in all their various shades.  In an ode to Raphael’s angels, he had two young African American boys pose with pondering expressions upon their faces.  Eventually he (or someone else?) placed wings upon their backs to complete the scene.

black angels 3

I’ve already tracked down a biography about Mr. Barnard, a famed American Civil War photographer.  I’m looking forward to learning more about him, and of the story behind this photograph of the South Carolina Cherubs.  But if you already know the story, please share.

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