How do you paint an angel if you don’t believe angels exist?
This story of an angel begins in Valencia, in Spain, in a public garden called Los Viveros, on the banks of what used to be the river Turia. My friend Antonio Gomis and I like to draw there because it’s green and cool and quiet.
Among the current attractions in the park (originally designed by the Muslims during their nearly eight hundred years in Spain) are fountains, pavilions, sculptures, a Museum of Natural Science and this faux-Greek colonnade.
We chose this spot in the park to draw because it offered a place to sit, some shade from the relentless Mediterranean sun, and because the Doric columns and Ionic capitals of an ancient temple seemed out of place in the garden.
Even more out of place was the angel. According to tradition, they are beings that are supposed to descend from the celestial worlds into our own, to be intermediaries between us below and the gods above. This angel was different; it rose up out of the dirt, like a deformed tree, nothing heavenly except for the wings. Gradually, Los Viveos darkened and the angel began to form itself, but it seemed to be wounded, scarcely able to fly.
This is a time of afflictions. People we love and people we don’t even know are dying by the thousands. The city of Valencia, like the rest of Spain, and like much of the rest of the world, is enduring weeks of confinement in which people have locked themselves in their homes, as they wait for the shadows of death to pass. I would like to paint an angel, one from the world above, who visits us to help heal our wounds and comfort our damaged earth. If only such a being existed.
3 thoughts to “Wounded Angel in a Broken World”
Inspired and yet troubling visions Reminded of psalm 23, … the valley of the shadow of death … , and Exodus, when the Jewish people marked their door with the blood of a animal, and the Angel of Death would pass over their homes.
Over a million faces lost from this plague.
Thanks for soulful sojourn, Miguel.
Thank you, Mike. The panels take me back to a Catholic childhood when my family of nine knelt and prayed each night “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me near….” Your soulful, construction makes me feel, no, makes me certain, that these spiritual guardians, however we see them, need our protection today.
When I saw your post and read it, my thoughts went immediately to angels we think we have known, or of whom we have had premonitions: Guardian Angels we learned about by rote, like catechism: “Angel of God my guardian dear.” or maybe Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But these angels are cartoons, cut from cardboard or posters, connected, but also very, very removed from angels qua angels. So then I went, actually was impelled, to read some of those observations/intuitions about angels in, “Sobre los ángeles,” by Rafael Alberti, he, named for one of the archangels and you for one of the others, Michael, the cathedral in Valencia, after all, being the Miguelete.
El ángel bueno
Vino el que yo quería,
el que yo llamaba.
No aquel que barre los cielos sin defensas,
luceros sin cabañas,
lunas sin patria,
Nieves de esas caídas de una mano,
No aquel que a sus cabellos
ató la muerte.
El que yo quería.
Sin arañar los aires,
sin herir hojas ni mover cristales.
Aquel que a sus cabellos
ató el silencio.
Para, sin lastimarme,
cavar una ribera de luz dulce en mi pecho
y hacerme el alma navegable.