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Angels are spirits or supernatural beings, found in all different mythologies and religions. They are described as the celestial beings who works between earth and heaven, often referred to as guardians or our guiding influence. Other jobs of the angels are to guide and protect humans, and carry out gods tasks. Read more...

Angels and Art

In many of the World’s religions angels figure prominently. Culturally how we understand them is not just in art and music. In today’s modern society, we also see them in film and television. They are thought to have been around almost as long as man has itself. Some say that they can be traced back to Ancient Egypt. The concept of angels has grown over the centuries building upon or absorbing ideas from other religions. At the core, however, is that they all portray the same underlying message.

Society sees angels as supernatural beings or spirits that feature in many of the world’s religions. They tend to think of them as caring celestial beings acting as the go-betweens for Heaven and Earth. One thing that is common to all of the religions is that they are looked upon as messengers of God that guide and influence us. This idea may come from the fact that the word angel derives from the Greek word for messenger. Despite this they are seen as being our guardians who give us hope in everyday life.

How we perceive and understand angels has come through their appearance in art whether that be painting, sculptures, music or in today’s modern society – film and television. Christian and Islamic art depicts them as something that is intended to be beautiful. It was in the early Christian church where they began to develop mainly as beings of pure spirit. As a result, since they have no defined form artists have taken a wide latitude in what they have created.

Through art, the basic angel image has been one of a winged human figure. To the modern eye, they appear as either male or female by their style of dress or their actions. There is a school of thought that their depiction up to the 19th century has them being genderless rather than male or female.

In today’s modern culture, the image of the angel continues to be one of a winged human figure. Over time, it has undergone a transformation in its use and message. It can nowadays be seen on the screen in uses that not only look to convey a message through entertainment but also be used to try and sell us something. Whatever the art form used, a common portrayal of angels in both the Christian and Islamic religions is that of beauty and serenity.

Despite changes in culture, context, language, religion and many other things the basic image of the angel as a winged human figure still has the power to create amazement and inspiration. That the image has continued to survive virtually unchanged over the centuries could be a surprising and valuable indication as to the universal and timeless appeal and power of the visual arts and the messages that we are seeing.

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