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Angelic exhibition in Lucerne

A golden cherub is on display as part of the angel exhibition.

(Lucerne Museum of History)

An exhibition called "World of Angels", currently at the Lucerne Museum of History, focuses on the role of the spiritual beings and their place in Christmas traditions.

Angels have undergone a radical transformation through the ages, at least in men's eyes. The exhibition is divided into three main themes: creation, appearance and duties.

The "World of Angels" brings to light how earthly representations of the messengers of God are everywhere (angel is derived from the Greek word for messenger); from statues, paintings and reliefs to simple Christmas decorations.

Angels referred to in the Bible are as bright as lightning or flame, without human shape. The exhibition shows how artists have radically transformed them through the centuries.

They first received wings in the fourth century and even bearded angels were acceptable up until the early Middle Ages. The 1,000 years spanning the Middle Ages saw them become more effeminate and child-like. The popularised plump cherub is a result of the Renaissance.

The "World of Angels" reminds visitors of the many and varied tasks angels have to perform. To the believer, they not only have to relay God's messages to the people but provide guidance and comfort in times of need; a guardian angel stands by a person's side for life and accompanies the soul to heaven.

The exhibition runs in Lucerne until January 14, but as it points out, the angels remain on duty until Judgement Day.

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