Book Description Review In 1990, Sophy Burnham's A Book of Angels started one of the most popular fads in publishing history. Now everybody wants in on the angel act, and who could produce a better angel act than the Vatican? This 300- page catalog of an exhibition of works from the Vatican's extensive collection of religious art is a heavenly look at some of the most beautiful pictures of the winged ones ever assembled. The artworks depicted in this sumptuous book begin with ancient Assyrian, Etruscan, and Greco-Roman funerary urns, vases, and sculptures, showing figures from which the later, Christian angels evolved. The Christian paintings, tapestries, marble bas-reliefs, sculptures, and clay figurines depict all kinds of angels from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Messengers, protectors, Christian saints, and the Holy Trinity, they hover, fly, kneel, and weep. Some of the pictures are terribly moving, even in reproduction. Angels of the Annunciation, such as Gentile da Fabriano's elegant intruder, arrayed in flowing gold and crimson cloths, are especially tender, as are Raphael's famous baby angels from the Sistine Chapel. The book's essays and extensive notes on each work of art answer many questions: What is an angel? Who are the seraphim? The cherubim? ('Cherubim know God's secrets.') What are the origins of angel iconography? This book dovetails with popular fascination with these higher powers, but it is also erudite, scholarly, and enlightening. --Peggy Moorman --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition. Read more