Monday, April 23, 2018

Things with Wings

Anonymous Greek artist
Eros flying
200-150 BC (Hellenistic)
terracotta statuette
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Marcantonio after Raphael
Poetry personified as winged woman
ca. 1515
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

follower of Albrecht Dürer
Study of Bittern's wings, showing both sides
watercolor on vellum
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Nailing Wings to the Dead

Since we nail
wings to the dead,
she calls ravens
from the sky
to inspect our work. "For flight,"
they say, "first remove their boots."

She leans in,
inspects a fresh hex
behind my eyes,
takes my feet
and lays them on the fire,
to burn it out, roots first.

We're the last,
babička and me.
We've survived on
chance and bread
baked from the last store of grain.
And as we're out of both,

we will die soon.
They are gathering
in the well.
We disrobe.
She hums whilst I nail her wings,
she tells me a tale, her last gift –

"This dark stain,
passed kiss to kiss-stained
fevered mouth,
blights love, is pulsed
by death-watch beetle's
tick, timing our decay.

They know this.
They wait by water,
gulping despair.
The ravens keep watch,
they say the contagion's here,
they promises to take us first."

Her tale done,
we go winged and naked
to the well.
We hear them
climbing the walls, caterwauling,
but ravens are swift, and swoop.

– Eleanor Hooker (2015)

Adamo Scultori after Giulio Romano
Two winged putti riding parallel above the water on dolphins
before 1587
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Giulio Cesare Procaccini
ca. 1615-20
oil on canvas (fragment)
National Galleries of Scotland

Cherubino Alberti after Polidoro da Caravaggio
Winged genius seated on a cloud and sounding a trumpet
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Pieter Withoos
Study of five butterflies, a wasp, and two flies
ca. 1680-92
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

William Gouw Ferguson
Six butterflies and a moth on a rose branch
ca. 1690
oil on panel
National Galleries of Scotland

Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin
Ballet Champêtre
ca. 1756-60
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Titian Ramsay Peale
Caligo Martia (Butterflies)
oil on paper
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Frans Xaver Wagenschön
Daedalus forming the wings of Icarus out of wax
before 1790
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

James Justus Tucker
Angel proclaiming the end of time
before 1842
oil on canvas
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Edward Burne-Jones
The Passing of Venus
(tapestry design for Morris & Co)
gouache on cardboard
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Odilon Redon
In the shadow of the wing the black creature bit
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Johannes Josephus Aarts
before 1934
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Anonymous Mexican artist
Angel (from Day of the Dead ofrenda)
painted plaster
British Museum