From earliest times, angels have been seen as instruments of salvation and retribution, agents of revelation, and harbingers of hope. In effect, angels are situated at the intersections of diverse belief structures and philosophical systems. In this book, Meredith J. Gill examines the role of angels in medieval and Renaissance conceptions of heaven. She considers the character of Renaissance angelology as distinct from the medieval theological traditions that informed it and from which it emerged. Tracing the iconography of angels in text and in visual form, she also uncovers the philosophical underpinnings of medieval and Renaissance definitions of angels and their nature. From Dante through Pico della Mirandola, from the images of angels depicted by Fra Angelico to those painted by Raphael and his followers, angels, Gill argues, are the touchstones and markers of the era's intellectual self-understanding, and its classical revival, theological doctrines, and artistic imagination.
Meredith J. Gill is Professor of Italian Renaissance Art in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the author of Augustine in the Italian Renaissance: Art and Philosophy from Petrarch to Michelangelo (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and co-editor, with Karla Pollmann, of Augustine Beyond the Book: Intermediality, Transmediality and Reception. Among her other publications are articles in Renaissance Quarterly, Storia dell'Arte, and Zeitschrift fur Kunstgeschichte, and essays in Rethinking the High Renaissance: The Culture of the Visual Arts in Early Sixteenth-Century Rome; The Possessions of a Cardinal: Politics, Piety, and Art, 1450-1700; The Renaissance World; and Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2005). She has been a fellow at Villa I Tatti (The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies) and the National Humanities Center, and the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Introduction; 1. Pure act: medieval angelology and Dante's angels; 2. Wings: celestial visions in the later middle ages and Renaissance; 3. Bodies and voices: annunciation and heavenly harmonies; 4. Contemplation: angelic witness and empathy; 5. Clouds and the fall: rebellion, salvation, and reform.