In notes written shortly before his death in 1940, Walter Benjamin meditated upon a 1920 picture by Paul Klee (‘Angelus Novus’). Describing it as showing an angel ‘looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating,’ Benjamin mused,
But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.