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Gouache over graphite
Support: Beige wove paper
Sheet: 30.8 x 27.8 cm (12 1/8 x 10 15/16 in.); Image: 27 x 23 cm (10 5/8 x 9 1/16 in.)
The Fanny Tewksbury King Collection 1956.722
Dewing’s small, densely packed composition of four singing angels alludes to depictions of angels playing musical instruments found in 14th-century medieval manuscripts. Angels were traditionally shown playing stringed instruments, whose delicate tones were thought to lift the mind to spiritual matters. The harp, as depicted here, was the instrument most closely associated with heavenly music. With the continuous circling of halos and harps, Dewing suggested a hypnotic, celestial melody.
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