The Greatest ArtWorks Featuring Angels

Angels are thought to be messengers from God and to act as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth. Over the course of art history, angels have been portrayed in various mediums and in many styles by some of the most famous artists of their time, including Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Claude Monet, and Gustav Klimt. 

The Greatest ArtWorks Featuring Angels

Since their first appearance in religious art, winged creatures have represented the divine. Images of these heavenly figures can be found all over the world, dating back centuries and representing an array of religious and mythological themes.

These celestial beings have appeared in thousands of pieces of art over hundreds of years, leaving indelible impressions on the artists who painted them and those who viewed them afterward. Explore the paintings below to see how various artists captured the mystique of these heavenly figures.

St. Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy by Caravaggio 

Caravaggio, one of the great painters from the Baroque period, had a knack for painting religious scenes. You can easily recognize the works of Caravaggio for the high level of contrast between light and dark in his depictions. And St. Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy is no exception to it. 

The work portrays St. Francis just as he experienced Stigmata, meaning that he received wounds on his hands and feet, replicating Christ’s crucifixion. The expression on the saint's face and the way he is cradled in the angel's arms make you feel like you are there witnessing this momentous event.

It is said that this angel is a six-winged seraphim, which is a type of angel typically found only in the Old Testament writings. The painting itself is incredibly emotive, capturing the spiritual moment through flawless use of tone and form. 

Conversion of Saul by Michelangelo 

Michelangelo’s famous painting, Conversion of Saul, depicts the scene where Jesus revealed himself to Saul, who would later be known as Paul. The painting is considered one of the most famous religious paintings of all time for its depiction of the event and the many figures he chose to incorporate into it.

Surrounding Christ are many figures of angels looking down on the group that was struck with divine revelation. Michelangelo’s portrayal of Christ seemingly floating above the ground is unique and is considered by many to be one of the most iconic religious paintings. 

The angels in the painting accompanying Saul on his journey apparently appear invisible to the men surrounding him because they are captivated by the intensity of Christ’s appearance. The awe-inspiring work features so many figures, they are like stars in the sky; all but drawing us up into the scene.

The Sistine Madonna by Raphael 

If we’re talking about famous angel paintings, it would be a crime to leave out The Sistine Madonna. One of Raphael’s most famous works, The Sistine Madonna is an awe-inspiring painting that depicts Mary and Jesus amidst a backdrop of cherubs and angels in Renaissance style. 

The painting displays Virgin Mary in a calm and serene light as Jesus sleeps peacefully in her arms. Next to them are Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara, with the two cherubs below appearing to gaze upward toward the mother and child. The innocence of these cherubs captures your attention – something that makes this piece so iconic.

This painting with its two cherubs epitomizes Raphael’s dramatic style and how he perceived the spirit world interacting with his perfect religious icons. This iconic piece is considered one of the most renowned representations of angels and divine figures in human history.

Song of the Angels by William-Adolphe Bouguereau 

William-Adolphe Bouguereau was one of France’s most famous Impressionist painters, and his works are still on display throughout museums around the world. 

One of his famous masterpieces ''Song of the Angels'' is one of his famous paintings that depict angels in classical style, seemingly singing a hymn to baby Jesus. While paintings of Jesus usually capture him as an adult, this idiosyncratic work depicts the infant savior, who seems to be falling asleep as angels finish their song.

The beautiful colors and details in each angelic figure make it easy to see why it’s been considered some of Bouguereau’s best work. 

The Annunciation of the Lord by Bartolome Esteban Murillo 

The Annunciation of the Lord is an oil painting on canvas by Spanish Baroque artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo. The scene depicts an angel approaching Mary with a message from God that she will bear Jesus Christ while she attends Mass, thus becoming both mother of God and first saint.

One can almost imagine Mary glancing up from her work as an angel appeared before her with these words, Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee. Also, in the middle of the painting is a white dove descending downward toward Mary, which embodies God’s presence.

That’s not all! In the middle of the painting is a white dove descending downward toward Mary, which embodies God’s presence. The painting has been widely admired due to its joyful mood and Murillo’s rendering of these celestial beings as innocent children.

The Bottom Line

Renowned for their ethereal presence, angels have long been depicted in a variety of mediums and art forms. While many works have become some of history’s most famous pieces, others remain a mystery to those outside their culture. Some are well-known worldwide while others remain obscure even within their own region. Whatever your taste in art, you’re sure to find something that strikes your fancy at 1st Art Gallery. 

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