Angels’ Wings | Horizon November 1960

COVER: When Benozzo Gozzoli painted this rapt little band of angels in 1459 he unhesitatingly gave them softly undulant robes, splendid wings, and the further sup­port of rainbow clouds. Not that he had ever seen an angel himself (how many mortals have?)–he was simply following a well-established convention. How that convention grew up is discussed in an article on page 26, on the iconography of heavenly beings. Gozzoli’s angels may he seen in the chapel of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in Florence.

No featured article this week, though if I’d done one it would have been THE ROUT OF THE CLASSICAL TRADITION about the demise of the classics and humanities in higher ed. I’d have concluded, “Cry me a river. You did it to yourselves.”

THE ARTFUL BANKER by Peter Lyon. David Rockefeller’s buying program makes the Chase Manhattan Bank the greatest corporate patron of the arts. Text, paintings

“Carburetor” by Walter Murch

THE NEWEST INVASION OF EUROPE by Reyner Banham. Of the American-born skyscrapers now erupting in numbers above centuries-old townscapes, some are brilliant but all remain challenging strangers in the land. Text, photos

THE ROUT OF THE CLASSICAL TRADITION by Hugh MacLennan. The reasons for throwing the classics out of education–though sound at the time–no longer obtain today, and so the young are beginning to set up the cry: “We were cheated.” Text

AN ICONOGRAPHY OF HEAVENLY BEINGS by Gilbert Highet. Why do angels have wings? In early Christian times God’s messengers walked as men. But after the sweeping conversions of the pagan world Christian artists found inspiration in the flying deities of ancient faiths. Text, art

THE INNOCENT AMUSEMENTS OF JEAN ANOUILH by Germaine Brée. Claiming that he is only diverting himself, this front-ranked dramatist attracts many people and exasperates others with an array of ironic plays whose wry and sometimes jarring air is not so innocent after all. Text, photos

A BRILLIANCE IN THE BUSH by Mary Cable. Wherever art is a way of life, as it is for the N’debele people of the Transvaal, beauty can be wrought from the most unlikely materials. Text, photos

THE ARCHPOET by Francis Russell. As a young man, Yeats made old men’s verses–he said so himself–but when he grew old, his verse became young. Text



NAVIGATOR TO THE MODERN AGE by Garrett Mattingly. The crusading and scientific ardor of a medieval prince, Henry of Portugal, drove his sailors across uncharted seas–and brought Europe a new picture of the world, followed by five centuries’ dominion over it. Text, maps, illustrations

Me: Minor quibble. The Phoenicians circumnavigated Africa. Herodotus reported this, though he qualifies his statement by saying “Once there [Pillars of Hercules], they declared–I for my part do not believe them, but perhaps others may–that in sailing around Libya [Africa] they had the sun upon their right hand.”

Me: To have the sun on your right hand, you must be traveling east to west, south of the Tropic of Capricorn.

GIVING NEW LIFE TO OLD MUSIC by Richard Murphy. The New York Pro Musica makes an international hit with the twelfth-century Play of David. Text, photos

THE CONQUESTS OF DR. ROSENBACH by Edwin Wolf 2nd and John F. Fleming. Business titans competed for the honor of buying First Folios from a genial Napoleon of book collecting whose finds were as phenomenal as the price he got for them. Excerpts from the book, Rosenbach: A Biography by Wolf, manager of Rosenbach’s Philadelphia store, and Fleming, Rosenbach’s New York assistant. Text

AN INTERVIEW WITH HENRY MOORE by Donald Hall. “I see no reason why realistic art and purely abstract art can’t exist in the world side by side… even in one artist at the same time.” Text, art

THEATER: THIS BLESSED PLOT, THIS SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK by Robert Hatch. Brief history of New York Shakespeare Festival (held in Central Park) and in particular, its founder, Joseph Papp who said, “You start with the philosophy that theater is important to people’s lives. … Of course it’s true. A spirit handed down for 2000 years and more can’t be ignored.”

BOOKS: ONLY YESTERDAY: THE THIRD REICH by Gilbert Highet. Review of William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. “In the realm of the spirit, intoxicants and impurities are freely peddled; intellectual viruses spread from country to country and increase by interbreeding and mutation. In The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, we see not only the maladies of the past but, dimly and forebodingly, a prognosis of the future.”

MOVIES: WAR AND PEACE IN TWO FOREIGN FILMS by Jean Stafford. Reviews of Hiroshima, Mon Amour, and The Cranes are Flying.

ADVERTISING: THE GLASS THAT WASN’T THERE by Stephen White. Deceptive television advertising discussed somewhat humorously. The ad agency for Libby-Owens-Ford (LOF), a major manufacturer of glass (autos, &c.) ran a commercial showing movies that had been filmed through Brand X (LOF’s competitor), and through LOF glass. The complaint that the FTC investigated? There was no glass in the LOF movie. For real, there was litigation still going on about this in 1965.

TOPOLSKI’S “CORONATION” by Timothy Green. New murals in Buckingham Palace recall the splendor of a grand occasion. Art

2 thoughts on “Angels’ Wings | Horizon November 1960”

  1. I had no idea the mission to destroy the classics department went back this far. It seems fitting that “the Artful Banker” is in the same volume. They share the same mission. I think most would be surprised to know that the world’s finest art collections are owned by banks and big corporations. As Museums are deaccessioning their public collections and repatriating “looted” objects, banks are growing their private collections.

    1. Recommendation. Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom. Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath. Encounter Books, New York. 2001.

      VDH traces it back to the 60s as well, though I suspect the seeds were planted long before that.

      I cannot recommend this book more highly. It’s worth it just for the appendix–including an annotated bibliography of the top 10 Greek classics to read, with recommended translations.

      I would be among those not really shocked surprised, but certainly ‘wouldn’t have thunk that’ regarding corporate art holdings.

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