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Angel and Guardian Angel

Photo: © Dombauhütte Köln, Matz und Schenk

The cycle of angels depicted in the spandrels of the arcades in the high choir was executed by the Late Nazarene painter Edward von Steinle between 1843 and 1845 using a fresco technique on a gold background. This hierarchically organized pictorial programme showing the nine choirs of angels replaced the medieval paintings dating from the early 14th century, which showed angels with musical instruments and censers. In view of the fact that these frescos were almost completely destroyed by the nineteenth century, it was decided to replace them instead of restoring them. The cycle begins in the West at the two eastern piers of the crossing and ends in the East in the smaller arcades of the chevet. The order of the angels in the fifteen arcades is in accordance with the Dionysian hierarchy. Thus the nine choirs of angels are divided into three levels, each of which has three subdivisions. Moving from West to East, angels in the same level of the hierarchy appear on opposite sides of the arcades. Although the actual pattern in each spandrel differs, the unifying element in all of them is the golden background in front of which the angels seem to float.

Kulturstiftung Kölner Dom Das Generationenprojekt 11.000 Sterne für den Kölner Dom ZENTRAL-DOMBAU-VEREIN ZU KÖLN VON 1842 DOMKLOSTER 4