Jean Corbechon, Livre des propriétés des choses

Book 2: On good and bad angels

Texts and Images

This book consists of 20 chapters in which the author discusses the hierarchy of angels. The names of the various types of angels are explained, as well as their nature and characteristics. Lucifer and other wicked angels who rebelled against God and were banished from heaven are discussed in the final two chapters. In addition to the introductory miniature, showing Christ in Glory with good and bad angels, this book contains two subsidiary images, one for chapter 7 (fol. 23v) and another for chapter 15 (fol. 27v).

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Detail of Christ’s face under magnification (20x).
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Detail of the bird’s head under magnification (16x). The red pigments in its beak and neck have degraded and darkened over time.

Emitting golden rays of light, Christ is shown at the centre of this image, surrounded by good angels clothed in white robes symbolising purity. Two good angels, armed with sword and spear, thrust out of heaven the bad, rebellious angels, causing them to tumble into the pit of Hell below. As they fall, the rebels are transformed into demons. Figures in the border include a seraph (six-winged angel), hybrid creatures and a bird.