Angelus Novus, Klee

Angelus Novus, Klee
Angelus Novus, Klee

For art historians it is undeniable that art is linked to society and the time in which it is conceived and without these no work has a complete meaning, even those canvases or sculptures that are inspired by a distant past to flee from their own society – see the painting of the romantic artists who tried to get away from their own time by drawing on inspiration from past eras – they are an invaluable source of information to know the society and culture in which they were conceived.

In this sense, it seems impossible to differentiate the works from their situation in time, just as it is not possible to separate the work from the artist who conceived it, since Paul Klee's Angelus Novus is nothing more than a clear reflection of the society in which it was created. On the other hand, we must bear in mind when analyzing Klee's work that Angelus Novus acquired a new dimension thanks to one of the theoreticians of the time, W alter Benjamin who he was also a close friend of the avant-garde artist.


Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) born in the Swiss city of Münchenbuchsee Klee grew up in a family of artists who provided him with a good education. His first steps in the world of art were in a modest academy in Bern to later enter the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He traveled to Italy where he met the classics and on his return to Germanyhe reinterpreted under his brushes what he had learned there. The artist participated in various artistic currents whether it was expressionism, surrealism, etc. and he worked numerous artistic techniques, in fact the work that we analyze here is a conjunction of various techniques since Klee used both watercolor and ink, oil or chalk in its execution.

The work dates from 1920 and shortly thereafter was acquired by the German Jewish critic W alter Benjamin. This piece was a key inspiration in Benjamin's work and influenced his thinking in a very powerful way, in fact the thinker would never get rid of the work painted by Klee. Apparently Benjamin identified Klee's Angel with an ancient Jewish legend inscribed in the Talmud,by which the figure of the avant-garde painter would be identified with a New Angel, beings created by God to renew their praises.

The geometrizing and poorly defined figure has large almond-shaped eyes that stare in astonishment at something that remains out of the scene as it ste althily moves away. The philosopher identified in him the Angel of history to represent a catastrophic vision of the history of humanity, an angel amazed at the barbarity of past, present and future history of humanity takes flight without being able to take his eyes off what it horrifies him.

Currently, the work of the painter Paul Klee is part of the collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

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