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0595 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 595 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Sec. iv]   THE DADO OF `ANGELS' IN CELLA M. ni   507

treatment finds expression. In each panel we see the head and shoulders of a youthful winged figure, unquestionably male, rising within a lunette of pale greenish blue. From what the panels iv, V, viii have retained of the original colouring, it appears very probable that the representation of a pale blue sky was intended. The plain black band which unites the lunettes at the top and separates the ` angels ' of the dado from the frieze above has already been noted. The lower curved edge of the lunettes is bordered by a black line, with a broader yellowish band and a red line outside. These two last have, in most cases, become much effaced. The background below is a pale pinkish buff, and across this ran the dark wave lines previously mentioned, of which there remains a trace visible at the bottom corners of panel ix.

The figures are all leaning to the right or left, with the heads turned three-quarters in the opposite direction and the shoulders slightly oblique, as seen with particular clearness in ii, v, viii, and ix. The heads are all of the same general type, which is decidedly Western, but with a Semitic tinge. The skulls are somewhat narrow and high, with a domed top. The faces are invariably young, and display well-rounded cheeks and chins. The eyes, large and full, are set straight in the faces and wide open. Their expression is uniformly animated, while slight changes in the direction of the gaze are skilfully used to increase the air of vivacity. There is even closer uniformity in the noses, which are long and markedly hooked towards the end. The ears are slightly elongated and pierced, and the mouths small and upturned at the corners. A small crescent is marked in red on the upper lip. Necks and shoulders are plump, folds in the neck helping to bring out this plumpness and at the same time also to suggest the turning of the head to the side. The eyebrows are always strong and well arched, almost meeting over the nose in i and ii, and doing so completely in iv. The heads are shaved in the forepart, except for a patch of hair on the crown, curiously dressed in a form which resembles a double leaf with a wisp-like stalk projecting, sometimes to the right or left and sometimes in the middle of the forehead. In ii, iii, and viii a long wavy ringlet hangs before the ear.

The wings, which form so striking a feature in these figures, are short and of a type showing its classical origin quite as clearly as that of the wings carried by the angels of Early Christian art. Spreading strongly outwards and upwards from the shoulders, they are admirably designed to give that impression of upward movement which, as we shall see, befits the position occupied by these figures in the general decorative scheme. The wings are formed of three rays of feathers, seen with particular clearness in ii : the inner, very short, represented by a simple line drawn parallel to the edge of the wing ; the second composed of a row of petal-shaped forms ; the third of quill feathers, long, tapering, and separating at their upturned tips in a fashion which suggests fluttering movement. Their long feathers are usually, but not always, coloured in two tints of red and buff, which i, V, and viii show with special clearness, one along the upper edge of the feather, the other below. The tips of the outstretched wings are almost on a level with the tops of the ` angels' ' heads. The robes worn by the figures vary in colour (white, buff, and different shades of red and pink), but are alike in type. They are cut low on the neck from points about mid-shoulder on either side, falling on the breast mostly in a full curve. The garments are generally represented by plain bands of colour, with no sign of folds ; but in iii and ix folds are indicated. Except in viii the edge is outlined on the flesh by a red or black line.

From notes kindly furnished by Mr. F. H. Andrews, upon which I have also drawn for most of the above descriptive remarks, I acid the following competent observations as regards the method which seems to have been pursued in painting. The figure was first outlined in light red, traces of which remain under the final outlines in the wings of ii, iii, etc. Next, after the flesh had been washed in with a light pinkish buff, the colouring of the cheeks was applied in a very delicate pink,


Features of angels' heads.

Wings and garments of angels.

Method of painting.