The Angelic Quartet
“Bronze mediates physical and spiritual realms.”
Snowden’s cycle of four heavenly archangels was originally composed in anticipation of visualizing the preliminary design of the Los Angeles Angel Frieze and the subsequent conception of the Great Golden Angels of the Main Altar. The sculptor’s artistic conception is based upon vivifying the Rite of Sanctification of a Holy Altar and Cathedral that anoints incense from the Altar to the walls of the sanctuary along the four cardinal directions. As an initial plan, The Angelic Quartet is unique from the final Main Altar Angels, as Snowden originally particularized the names and attributes of the four great Archangels in three-dimensional form.
M.L. Snowden Speaks about Archangel Ariel
Archangel Ariel, whose textual record reaches back to the antediluvian period of the Torah, is said to have announced the coming of the flood to Noah. As the first angel of the Angelic Quartet, Ariel begins the cycle of the Main Altar ceremony of dedication, where chrism and other incense anoints Ariel as the embodiment of the cardinal direction of the east.
Archangel Raphael’s name derives from the Hebrew word “rophe” meaning doctor. As the healing Angel, Raphael is situated as the cardinal direction of the west. Snowden visions Raphael with the tender power of anointment. Folded windblown bronze is the basis for most of the figural component that permits the bronze to structurally elevate in mid-flight.
The Archangel Michael remains protector of Israel, and along with Gabriel, is textually mentioned in the old and new testaments of the bible. The Archangel Michael, enthroned upon the cardinal direction of the south, is emplaced within Snowden’s sculptural plan in relationship to the Roman Catholic Rite of Dedication of a Holy Altar and Cathedral. The Archangel’s hands open in supplication, creating a spiked nexus that energizes the work’s elongated profile.
The mystical significance of Gabriel as messenger finds biblical textual expression in the Archangel’s announcement of the coming of Christ. In the sculptor’s vision of the foremost four of the seven great archangels, Gabriel faces the northern cardinal direction of the Rite of Dedication of a Holy Altar and Cathedral. Emotions and attributes of happiness and candor suffuse every fold and projecting limb of the bronze. Snowden orchestrates the two hundred pound weight of the Archangel into an almost immaterial evocation.