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Haavoittunut enkeli (The Wounded Angel)

Friday, 27 December, 2013

“He watched and was made cognisant of another image, of the Finnish painter Hugo Simberg’s wounded angel, carried by two boys, a painting he had seen as a young man in a Helsinki summer long ago, and which forever changed the way he saw the world.” Submergence by J.M. Ledgard.

Haavoittunut enkeli (The Wounded Angel) is the most famous work by Hugo Simberg, and was voted Finland’s “national painting” in 2006. Simberg declined to offer any deconstruction, suggesting that viewers draw their own conclusions, but it is known that he had suffered from meningitis, and that the painting was a source of strength during his recovery. There is a metaphorical reading in which meningitis causes neck stiffness, which is exhibited by the boy on the right, and if the wings are seen as lungs, an ailment such as tubercular meningitis, which causes abrasions to the upper lungs, might be involved in Simberg’s mysterious, moving painting.

Fallen Angel


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