Monday, September 29
Angels with Guns, and More, on Michaelmas
Historic Christianity has always believed in the valour of St. Michael riding in front of the Church Militant, and in an ultimate and absolute pleasure, not indirect or utilitarian, the intoxication of the Spirit, the wine of the blood of God.
Above: Archangel Michael of the Apocalypse, a traditional Orthodox iconographic typology. This one is more pleasantly lurid than usual.
Above: Harquebusier Archangel, Cuzco School, 1680. Museo Nacional De Arte La Paz, Bolivia. It's actually the archangel Asiel, representing the virtue of fear of God, one of the nebulous and shifting collection of four other named archangels besides Michael, Gabriel and Raphael that exists within the Christian (and more often Judaic) imagination. Uriel is another, more consistent member of this group, though since the 745 Council of Rome, has not received official veneration in the calendar. "Angels with guns," as they are sometimes colloquially known, occupy an interesting place in Andean Baroque religious painting, often coming in sets of seven, depicting each angel allied with a virtue and overcoming the opposite vice. (A modern variation on the theme can be found here.)