AngelInternationalIndiaAfricaTwo-meter-tall angel paintings, covered by a layer of lime plaster and concealed for centuries, were discovered by accident as specialists were working on restoring Norway’s oldest cathedral. Could the Reformation have anything to do with these mysterious works of art having been hidden for so long?Two medieval angels paintings were uncovered while work on renovating the Stavanger Cathedral in southern Norway was in progress.The paintings were hidden for several hundred years, tucked away several meters above ground, and were found by mere accident. These works of art were unearthed by bricklayers who checked whether the lime plaster on the ceiling was firmly fixed, yet they found out that it was hollow and loose. As they were slowly removing it, these two-meter-tall medieval angels appeared.© PhotoScreenshot of Facebook post with angels from Stavanger CathedralScreenshot of Facebook post with angels from Stavanger CathedralThe paintings have conspicuously suffered from the ravages of time, but they are still largely decipherable. According to Anne Ytterdal, a painting conservator in the Archaeological Museum at the University of Stavanger, the paintings are 700 years old.
"One of the angels is swinging a censer. Other colors have been used as well, so we think both angels had robes on," Bettina Ebert, a cultural heritage researcher in the Archaeological Museum at the University of Stavanger, told local media, stressing the unique status of the object.
© PhotoScreenshot of Facebook post with angels from Stavanger CathedralScreenshot of Facebook post with angels from Stavanger CathedralWhy the paintings have been covered up remains a mystery. However, Ebert, a professional cultural heritage researcher, cited two possible reasons. First, during the Reformation, angels, which were a common motif during the Middle Ages, were linked to Catholicism and thus seen as undesirable. Second, the paintings could have been damaged and had flaws.WorldMuslims in Norway More Religious Than Christians, Survey Finds30 March, 06:25 GMTThe Stavanger Cathedral, built in the 1100s, can seat as many as 800 people and is regarded as one of the leading historical sights in the southern part of the Nordic country. Adorned with sculptures of kings, it is Norway’s oldest cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of Stavanger. Right now, it is undergoing massive renovation works in the lead-up to the church’s and the city’s 900th anniversary in 2025.