Thursday, January 15, 2009

Depictions of Angels

Angels have been represented in many different ways throughout history. Sometimes they are displayed as beautiful woman. Sometimes they look plain and dull and don’t stand out much except for the wings. And sometimes they were depicted as infants or children. These are just a few examples of how Angels are depicted. Sometimes their wings are black and sometimes they are white. They often appear clothed but are also shown naked. Another difference that has shifted back and forth is whether to show them with halos or not.

I looked at three different paintings of angels and even though they were all roughly around the same time period, they are all portrayed completely differently.

The first angel here is by Leonardo da Vinci and is named Head of An Angel. The angel here is portrayed as a rather attractive lady and is soft. She has golden hair and blue eyes and very pale skin. She seems to have a glow around her but no halo and has a content look upon her face. Leonardo has given her black wings, which makes her fade into the background of the painting.

The second set of angels is by Giovanni Bellini. His painting is called Dead Christ Between Two Angels. Here the angels on either side of Christ are young boys who seem rather plain. They have halos and pale skin. You just see the angel’s wings on the left, which Bellini has decided to make a bold golden color. Both angels seem small compared to Christ (not uncommon since Christ holds the importance) and their face look concerned not serene as Leonardo’s angel did. The painting overall is dark and there is no glow to the angels. You can barely make out their halos because they are so dark.

The third painting of angels is by Caravaggio who lived at a later time than the previous two painters. His painting is called The Seven Acts of Mercy. His angels are depicted as very young boys and are not clothed. They seem more muscular than the angels in the other two paintings. Their wings are white and underneath and brown on top, which makes them look natural; like the wings of an eagle or another bird. Their faces are concerned but yet at the same time at peace as they reach down to Earth.

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