A personal view about an Angel by Francesco Jerace
One of my favourite sculptures representing overtly masculine angels is a marble group by Francesco Jerace, located in the Cappella Greco at Cosenza, Calabria, Italy. It is known as Fanciullo Morto e Angello (Dead Boy and Angel) and was made in 1900.
The grace of the Angel who welcomes the dead boy makes us think much more of a Guardian Angel than of the Angel of Death. There is nothing fearsome in this sculpture, but a placid atmosphere and a deep spirituality, along with —and that is the most enthralling trait— some intense, if dissimulated, eroticism.
Both adolescent bodies show postures of full mutual harmony, and if the human boy transmits a very delicate languor and abandonment, the Angel has a tension in the body that suggests physical as much as spiritual pleasure; he seems to be in a kind of trance like that of an approaching orgasm… Just look at his left hand; at the left hands of both figures… They might be handling something invisible, but easily imaginable when we observe with some care, and notice the mantle which chastely covers their laps —most especially their crouches—. This mantle, beautifully carved, subtly brings our attention to the hands and to what the artist probably intended to suggest. Let me point out that the invisible forms that they are, maybe, handling would be in touch with each other had they been actually sculptured.
Needless to say, this is my own, very personal interpretation of this group; I’ve not read about it anywhere; but a peculiar, very reliable, voice inside my heart tells me that the sculptor thought just like this, and made these beautiful hands (some of the most captivating pieces of sculptural art I have ever seen) to imply what he could not, in any way, openly represent (not in 1900).
About the masculine Angel, I find him extremely beautiful. Not that I prefer masculine to feminine-looking ones, here of after death, but —as depicted this time by Jerace— they are my ideal of beauty if I could choose my own earthly appearance or that of any future mate of mine.
I apologize for seeming —or being— somewhat randy. I would not like to displease anybody; I just feel lonely and forlorn, and this statue makes me thrill and sigh once and again.
To me, some daily dose of eroticism and hope of love is necessary to keep on struggling for life in the very bad moments. However, beyond Music and the rest of the Arts, there is no beauty now around me, even less a loving touch. As for the Moon, the trees, the flowers and bees…, yes, they used to be beautiful in a time, but they do not matter much to me nowadays. I have fallen very low, I presume.
About Francesco Jerace, he was born in Polistena in July the 26th, 1854, and died in Napoli in 1937. (For lovers of music —and I am one—, he also made a very nice statue of Beethoven, which may be seen inside the cloister of the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella, Naples.)
Credits: I have found the original for the edited photos I present here, the precise location of the statue, and some data about Francesco Jerace on the WP blog Polistena: Storia, Arte e Cultura, directed by Giovanni Pecora, to whom I congratulate for his excellent and very well documented blog.
All the writing and every opinion expressed here are only mine —and, of course, are only opinions.
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