Author: Luisa Perkins
•6:00 AM
Angels Singing and Playing Instruments, Jan Van Eyck (1395-1441)

The Heavenly Choir

What sudden blaze of song
Spreads o'er th' expanse of heaven?
In waves of light it thrills along,
Th' angelic signal given--
"Glory to God!" from yonder central fire
Flows out the echoing lay beyond the starry quire;

Like circles widening round
Upon a clear blue river,
Orb after orb, the wondrous sound
Is echoed on forever;
"Glory to God on high, on earth be peace,
And love toward men of love--salvation and release."

Yet stay, before thou dare
To join that festal throng;
Listen and mark what gentle air
First stirred the tide of song;
'Tis not, "the Saviour born in David's home,
To whom for power and health obedient worlds should come:"

'Tis not "the Christ the Lord:"--
With fix'd adoring look
The choir of angels caught the word,
Nor yet their silence broke;
But when they heard the sign, where Christ should be,
In sudden light they shone and heavenly harmony.

--John Keble (1792-1866)
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On 13/12/08 , Heidi Ashworth said...

You most likely know all the technical terms for what I am about to (try to) say--but, it is interesting to me how flat the paintings are from this time period (or maybe it is just a style). Very pretty and very icon-ish, which was most likely their intent, but so two dimensional. Maybe there is a reason for that--they didn't want their art to mimic reality too much because it seemed arrogant? Just a guess . . .

On 13/12/08 , Jen of A2eatwrite said...

You know, Luisa, I was watching The Colbert Report with D last night and this commercial came on that said, "Bring the JOY back to Christmas" and showed all these kids ripping open wrapping paper, and I thought to myself, "Presents don't bring any true joy - or they shouldn't." And I ended up in a real Bah, Humbug mood.

THESE POSTS are bringing the joy back to Christmas for me. Thank you.

On 22/12/08 , Goofball said...

ooooh you chose a Van Eyck!!! I love Van Eyck. Although in all honesty, those pictures don't do him justice, they are a bit pale.

This paiting (those are 2 panels of a much bigger altar piece The Mystic Lamb as you surely know) is in Ghent where I used to live! I love to visit it.

In the pearls of the angels crowns you can see the reflection of the angels next and the clothes show gold threat that is hardly visible with the eye. I think it's the angel on the right for which they've found a purchase receipt for the mantel (which he actually owned and draped on the model).

It's such a miraculous painting, breath taking!!