It is said that “every picture tells a story”. The profile image for the “OMG Van Eyck was here” campaign, features one of the “Singing Angels” from the Ghent Altarpiece. The campaign was conceived and developed by The Oval Office, a Belgian live communication agency.
There is a remarkable story associated with this particular “angel”, the lead singer in the choir of eight angels. At one level it represents Gabriel, the angel of the Annunciation. But this is an angel without wings – on an earthly level, a female chorister who perhaps had the voice of an angel? She is portrayed with an expression of innocence, wide-eyed and with a wide-open mouth – a look of amazement, perhaps? For sure, she stands out from the other angels in the group.
This lead chorister also has a place in the “Musical Angels” panel, but her expression is quite different. She’s the “angel” holding the viola, but no longer singing and wide-eyed. Instead, her lips are sealed; she seems downcast; her glow and freshness has disappeared. Is she blind, as the seated angel is, and as the other “angels” appear to be?
She is also portrayed as one of the women in the Hermits panel. This is not without significance as very little is known about the woman’s life in the wake of the tragic events which occured early in her marriage.
It is also quite possible that this “angel” met with Jan van Eyck on one of his visits to England. She may even have proclaimed at the time: “OMG! Van Eyck is here.”
More on this and the “angel’s” identity in a future post.