Who was that guy?
September 27, 2013 5:11 AM   Subscribe

I know Walter Benjamin treasured a drawing by Paul Klee, Angelus Novus (angel of history).. So much so that he wrote about it in his essay "Theses on the Philosophy of History".

However, about 15 years ago I read a book by a Marxist art historian who mentioned a 17th/18th century painting that also had as its subject "a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."

The painting was in the style of Jacques-Louis David. But it wasn't by him. Anyone know? My google-fu fails me.
posted by Mister Bijou to Society & Culture (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It wasn't Poussin's Dance to the Music of Time, was it? It's not as fraught with anxiety as Angelus Novus, but it does combine the "people with wings" and "history" ideas.
posted by mittens at 10:11 AM on September 27, 2013

I don't know the specific painting you're looking for, but "The Fall of the Rebel Angels" is a theme that many painters have treated, and some of these paintings look a bit like Benjamin's description. An image search will show you many more.
posted by ourobouros at 12:04 PM on September 27, 2013

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