Angels of Paris

I thought I’d seen every angel there was to see when I spent a summer in Paris during college. Nope.

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Posted in , Jan 17, 2013

An image from "Angels of Paris" by Rosemary Flannery

I finally had a chance to look through Angels of Paris, where author and photographer Rosemary Flannery leads “an architectural tour” through the history of this romantic city. I thought I’d seen every angel there was to see when I spent a summer in Paris during college. Nope. Rosemary found an angel on a courtyard sundial at the Sorbonne, angels spilling sweets on a sign over a bakery doorway, angels on doorknockers and rooftops.

Some of these angels are hidden treasures, but one I can’t believe I could have missed: a three-story high stone angel on the rounded corner of an apartment building, circa 1860. The architect wanted to soften the corner of the building so it would be pleasing to passersby on the busy avenue.

He called on a young sculpture student who’d created an angel for a lighthouse design competition, but who'd lost the competition. The student redesigned his angelic submission to fit the oblique angle of the building. To me it looks as if the building was designed around this colossal angel.

And, Flannery notes, the student’s sculpture also serves as “a giant advertisement for himself.” The student’s name was Emile-August Delange. De l’ange means “of the angel.”

I think it’s time I took another trip to Paris!

Photo credit: Rosemary Flannery

 

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