Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

The Fall of the Rebel Angels

Folio 64v

This is one of the Limbourgs' most original and beautifull miniatures. The extraordinary movement of the rebel angels falling from the sky and the chatoyant harmony of blues and golds, almost the only colors used, reveal the artists' genius.
Not originally planned for the Très Riches Heures, it is an inset page executed separately either at the suggestion of the Duc de Berry or upon a sudden inspiration of one or more of the brothers. It was placed at the beginning of David's Penitential Psalms, probably because the angels'revolt was the first sin from which stemmed all other sins because of Lucifer's wish for revenge.
God, fiery faced, holds a globe and sits enthroned in the firmament with shining seraphim at His feet.
Rows of gold stalls in semicircular tiers resembling a theater represent the seats, many of which are vacant, of the heavenly powers: one thought of the Almighty was enough to send the rebel angels hurtling down.
The fall itself is a marvelous innovation: the double row of intertwining gold wings and blue robes, headed by the handsome Lucifer crowned in gold, ends with the angel's conflagration upon touching the earth.
One recalls the words of Isaiah: " How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? " (Isaiah XIV:12)
High between the two rows of falling angels, we see the heavenly host in gold coats of mail and silver helmets. Firmly planted at the feet of the Lord, they stand surveying the execution and ready to obey Him.

small image (25KB) --- large image (255KB) --- God and the heavenly host (large) (242KB) --- Lucifer and the falling angels (large) (249KB)

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