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Pictures of Christmas Angels, Some Beautiful Paintings and Images of Angels In Art
The Angel Gabriel by Guido Reni
A Choir of Angels Sing
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, / Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
I believe in angels. Don't ask me why. I'm not overly religious, and yet the idea of these gracious beings walking with us, unseen, smiling on our endeavours, lighting our path, and guiding us home in times of need, resonates on the deepest level. Of course I've never knowingly seen an angel, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been in the presence of one.
Throughout the ages mankind has reported encounters with these heavenly beings. We have a traditional image in our minds eye of tall, physically beautiful, winged angels, robed in white gowns. These are the angels of Christ's nativity, who greet the birth of the infant Jesus. Each year, in December, small children decked out in bed sheets with tinsel halos act out the part of angels as they re-tell the Christmas story in schools, in churches, and draughty public halls.
Angels have also been a favoured subject for artists and writers across the centuries, and this hub looks at some beautiful images of angels, from Christmas angels, to the Angel of the Annunciation, to Guardian angels and beyond, as well as including some great quotations from poets, philosophers and other writers.These angels aren't always robed in white, and sometimes they're not so physically imposing, but I like to think that they're always inspiring.
Glaedelig Jul - Old-fashioned Norwegian Christmas Postcard
The Guardian Angel by Henri Decaisne, 1836
An Angel to watch over us
'I wear a coat of angels' breath and warm myself with His love'. ~Emme Woodhull-Bäche
In this painting the infant sleeps securely in the arms of an angel, whilst his exhausted mother naps beside him, oblivious to the presence of a heavenly guardian. The artist Henri Decaisne (1799-1852) painted this popular image in 1832. I like the way that the angel casts his eyes towards heaven, whilst his left wing gently folds around the child's mother to include her in his embrace.
Angel by Abbott Thayer, 1889
On the wings of an angel
'The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.' ~George Elliot
Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849-1921) used his daughter Mary as the model for this striking portrait of an angel. Thayer was famed for his skills as a portrait artist, but in later life became famous for another quite surprising reason.Thayer is credited with doing much of the earliest work into the nature of camoflage, and his extensive research enabled him to write in detail about protective coloration in nature. He is sometimes referred to as the 'father of camoflage'.
The Angel by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 1881
The sound of the clarion's call
'Music is well said to be the speech of angels'. ~Thomas Carlyle
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898) painted many images of ethereal willowy beings, including quite a number of angels. He is closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and worked closely with William Morris to produce designs for stained glass church windows. Many well-known examples still exist.
An Angel Playing a Flageolet by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
Star of Bethlehem (Flower Book) by Sir Edward Coley Burne Jones
Bird of God by Joanna Mary Boyce (1861)
The Last Angel
Joanna Mary Boyce (1831-1861) came from an artistic family, and she was fortunate enough to be able to study at Cary's Art Academy from the age of 18. Joanna Boyce was a Londoner by birth, but her artistic gifts, and priveleged background soon saw her travelling in Europe where she was able to further her studies in both Paris and later in Italy. It was in Rome, in 1857, that she married the artist Henry Tanworth Wells, and with his encouragement, she continued to produce portraits and genre paintings in a careful, naturalistic, style. The painting shown above, entitled 'Bird of God' was standing, recently completed, on her easel when she died of complications following childbirth. She was 29 years old.
St Cecelia and the Angels by Paul Delaroche (1836)
Resurrection of Christ by Raphael, circa 1499-1502
Tidings of Great Joy I Bring
'Outside the open window
The morning air is all awash with angels.'
~Richard Purdy Wilbur
Raphael is one of the best known of the Renaissance masters, and his work features many light-hearted and joyful images of angels, including this one of an angel on the wing.
Detail from the LA Cathedral Mausoleum Stained Glass Window
In the city of angels
'You'll meet more angels on a winding path than on a straight one.' ~Daisey Verlaef
Originally created for the Cathedral of St Vibiana in the 1920s by Franz Borgias Mayer (1848-1926) this fantastic stained glass window now resides in the mauseleum of the Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles.
photo credit: Andreas Prafcke
The Annunciation by Philippe de Champaigne, 1644
Hark the herald angels sing!
'So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame, Angels affect us oft, and worshipped be' - John Donne (1571-1631)
Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674) was a Flemish born artist of the French Baroque school. His paintings are mainly figurative, and are often of religious tableaux such as the one above. Mary looks suitably startled at the angelic vision before her, but she's clearly not frightened by her visitor, or by the accompanying chorus of cherubs above her head!
The Annunciation by Titian, 1520-1522
Titian's angel with a message
' I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.' ~Michelangelo
One of the shining stars of the Italian Renaissance, Titian was a Venetian artist of great versatility and skill. This angel carries a banner inscribed with Latin, and has a powerful and purposeful air about him.
Seventh Angel of the Apocalypse Proclaiming the Reign of The Lord, c.1180
More angelic music
'But men must know, that in this theatre of man's life, it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on.' - Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
I have included this very ancient image of an angel because I like the stylised image, and the simple but effective choice of colours. The Seven Angels of the Apocalypse are mentioned in the Book of Revelations. They are all given trumpets, then an angel with a golden censer goes to the altar and offers the prayers of the saints. That angel then takes fire from the altar, fills his censer with it, and hurls it down to the Earth initiatiing a series of earthquakes, accompanied by thunder, and lightning.
The Annunciation to the angels from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
Les Tres Riches Heures
'And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams, call to the soul when man doth sleep' - Henry Vaughan (1622-1695)
Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry is an illuminated manuscript which was commissioned around 1410, and was largely the work of the Limbourg Brothers. The manuscript is heavily illustrated throughout, and it's remarkable draughtsmanship and jewel bright colours, make it one of the most important works of art of the 15th century. This illustration shows the angels announcing the birth of Christ to the shepherds grazing their sheep on the hills above Bethlehem.
Do you believe in angels?
Angels - Robbie Williams
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