Saltworkstudio Florence: Halos, Angels, Demons, and the In-Betweens

The heads of the saints or angels are drowning in gold, their heads barely breaking the metallic water. The halos expand to fill the whole heaven.

If you blur your eyes for a moment, you’re in a different world: the world of impossible beauty (angels) and unfortunately conceivable horror (the demons). There’s so much gold that it creates its own pattern in the negative spaces. Or should I say positive spaces? Heaven seems more real than earth.

This is what I call the “horseshoe effect.”
I think this is Lippi, not Botticelli— these beings look angelic, even without the wings. Here you see the misty or fine net halo above Mary. There seem to be little flare halos above the trio.
A particularly fine Byzantine style Gabriel. He’s holding the lily and has nice bird feather wings. The greenish cast of the face is because they painted the faces green first, so the flesh tones were true and dimensional because of the color contrast, but chemical reactions over the centuries faded out the flesh top layer so that the green shows through. He has the classic “plate” halo.
The Dixie Paper Plate halo, common in frescos.

You learn to recognize the angels quickly. Michael tends to have black wings and red shoes. Gabriel has the lily, and the other one is Raphael.

There are other angels as well. This memorial, composed of padlocks and silk, holds the names of women, gay and trans people murdered during domestic abuse.

Banks of silver lilies and flocks of incense censers hung above. I think incense and scent is related to the angels, because of the air element; the lilies also imply scent and perfume. These are Gabriel and Mary’s lilies.
And here’s a little altar to the angels of caffeine.
I caught the angelic Botticelli-faced person, from a previous post, walking the next day in the Boboli gardens with his friend. This scene has a touch of the angels about it for me.

Now on to the demons, and the in-betweens.

The six-winged Seraphim are holy, but if I saw a flock like that I would be properly terrified. That is UFO territory.

I found the coffin set in a wall, surmounted by scenes of damnation, in Santa Croce. If they couldn’t get piety, apparently horror would do fine.

I do like the in-betweens. Play the game like you did as a child: if only I were strong as a lion, could fly, could get rid of my enemies… and you get this Etruscan manticore… or is it a gryphon?

Archeological museum. The angel horse.

And now for some liminal self portraits, to add to the spooky ambience of October. Sometimes I did feel that I was the ghostly visitor, and the past was the living thing. Suzanne

In the Etruscan exhibit, with ghostly warrior, shield and oaks
Time travel
My mummies and me