Cherubs – Morning by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

Morning by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Via Hammer Museum

Between pale tree leaves, beneath a sunless sky, a lady meets an angel. A trio of cherubs fly away from the earth to reach the clouds where they reside. As the light brightens between the leaves and branches, as the birds’ chirps echo timidly throughout the valley, the angels depart the moon and the stars to find another night.

This morning is different than the others. This morning, one of the angels is caught by the hand of a lady dressed in red. Her skin is as pure as heaven and smells like a fresh cut bouquet. She noticed earlier rustling leaves although she couldn’t hear the wind blowing. She could feel a strange presence inhabiting the centre of the forest. Her heart leaped and she shivered before she perceived the shadow of a baby. Intrigued, she stepped closer and peaked as the shape of wings unveiled. Astounded, she emitted a sharp sound, preventing the cherubs from continuing their journey. Both stood immobile, staring at one another, frightened. “I won’t hurt you, “whispered the lady while directing her right hand to the angel’s wings. The tone of her voice so comforting, her scent made of sugar, her eyes filled with compassion, the cherub let her hand on his wing, recognising the maternal touch of a woman protecting her child.

The two other angels turned their heads to watch their sibling ensnared in the grips of a human. They paused, unsure how to react.  They had never encountered a human being that tender. The others were rude and chased them everywhere to steal their wings and deprive them of flight. This person was different. She seemed to seek comfort and love.

As the cherub let itself be cajoled, it glanced at the sky and saw the light which filled his heart with warmth. Its eyes became blue, it wings grew larger and its hair longer, turning into a bright yellow tone. The angel was no longer a baby but had grown into a little girl. The lady in red smiled calmly, stood up, and offered her hand to the little girl.

As they walked slowly toward the valley, the sky brightened and the tree leaves grew lush. From under a branch, the two other angels spied on their siblings, wishing that one day they, too, would fly over the valley and find a mother to love.

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