Years ago I took a very low-budget international backpacking trip—the same trip that yielded this free collection of Venice photos. I found myself in Rome for about a week, and I spent most of my time there just walking throughout the city. Not a bad way to get the most out of a trip if you have OK shoes and very little money.
One of these walks took me across a bridge called Ponte Sant’Angelo. It’s lined with statues of angels holding different symbolic objects.(And panhandlers trying to sell cheap toys to tourists—but I did my best to ignore that part.)
I photographed each statue. The expression of one in particular was very interesting to me—and still is.
Years after this trip, I looked up the statue online and learned that it’s commonly known as The Angel with the Column.
I probably could have guessed that. It is quite literally an angel with a column.
The inscription at the statue’s base reads Tronus meus in columna, which means “my throne on a column.”
I’m not entirely sure of the significance, but I’ve read in a few sources that it has something to do with the passion of Christ. The column ostensibly represents the column Christ was tied to as he was scourged. Kind of gives a different meaning to the word “throne.”
This photo I took isn’t that special; if you Google The Angel with the Column you’ll find hundreds like it. But the harsh light, the worn texture of the stone, the elevated position, and the distant expression of the statue combine in a way that echoes in my mind.
I’ve wanted to formulate a drawing idea around it, but instead I found myself homing in on just the face of the angel.
About a year ago I roughly scribbled the angel’s expression into one of my sketchbooks with ballpoint pen, figuring I would come back to it at some point, maybe with some kind of surreal concept idea added to the mix.
Still later, I approached the subject with canté crayons (they’re like colored, slightly-waxy charcoal) on a much larger sheet of paper. Instead of traditional shading, I used sequences of abstract swirling shapes. It seems to make the drawing a little more ethereal.
This face and expression might show up again in my work; I don’t feel quite finished with it yet.
Specs of The Angel with the Column
Title: The Angel with the Column
Materials: Black, grey, and sepia canté crayon on sketch paper
Dimensions: 18″ x 24″ (poster size)
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