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Angels in Art: A Heavenly Collection from The Metropolitan Museum

5 min read
Angels in Art: A Heavenly Collection from The Metropolitan Museum

Angels are often depicted in art as heavenly beings, often with wings, who act as messengers of God. In the Bible, angels are said to have appeared to various figures, such as Abraham and Mary. Angels also play an important role in other theologies, such as Islam. There are numerous artworks depicting angels in The Metropolitan Museum, from a wide range of cultures and religions. These artworks provide insight into how different cultures and religions have represented angels over time.

The Adoration of the Magi

Italian, Florentine, 1266/76–1337 / The Met

    This picture - at once austere and tender - belongs to a series of seven showing the life of Christ.
    The masterly depiction of the stable, which is viewed from slightly below, and the columnar solidity of the figures are typical of Giotto, the founder of European painting.

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints

Italian, Urbino 1483–1520 Rome / The Met

    This painting was created by Raphael around 1504-5.
    It hung in a part of the church reserved for the nuns.
    The nuns sold their painting in 1678.

The Immaculate Conception

Italian, Bologna 1575–1642 Bologna / The Met

    Reni, the most celebrated painter of seventeenth-century Italy, was particularly famous for the elegance of his compositions and the beauty and grace of his female heads, earning him the epithet "Divine."
    This altarpiece, with its otherworldly space shaped by clouds and putti in a high-keyed palette, was commissioned in about 1627 by the Spanish ambassador in Rome for the Infanta of Spain.
    It later hung in the cathedral of Seville, where it exercised a deep influence on Spanish painters, especially Murillo.

Christ Carrying the Cross, called "The Lord of the Fall"

The American Wing / The Met

    This work belongs to the genre of "statue painting," that is, painted simulacra of sacred images.
    As a "true likeness" of a cult image, it was believed to possess the miraculous powers of the original, a sculpture of Christ the Nazarene venerated in the Cusco church of San Francisco.
    The effectiveness of this type of painting depended on its veracity, a demand that led to the depiction not only of sculptures, but the altars and shrines where they were venerated.

Segment of a Crozier Shaft

The Cloisters / The Met

    Croziers, sometimes made of ivory, were important symbols of the authority of the Western Church.
    This ivory formed part of the shaft of a crozier that was surmounted either by a crook or a T-shaped cross known as a tau.
    The shaft segment is divided into four horizontal bands.
   At the top is Jesus enthroned and surrounded by the Elders of the Apocalypse
   The enthroned Virgin and Child appear on the opposite side.
   Angels dressed as clergy populate the two central registers.
   The lowest register depicts the heavenly investiture of the bishop, for whom this crozier perhaps was made.

The Nativity

Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges / The Met

    This painting, which most likely was intended as a single, private devotional panel, combines the depiction of the Nativity and the Adoration of the Shepherds as described in both biblical and mystical literature.
    It probably dates from the early 1480s, before David established himself in Bruges.
    The homely and naive figure types and the geometric simplification of the heads of the Virgin and angels reflect models the artist knew from his early training in the northern Netherlands.

The Last Judgment

Netherlandish, Cleve ca. 1485–1540/41 Antwerp / The Met

    This majestic scene is divided into heavenly and earthly zones, which are linked by two hovering angels blowing trumpets.
   Christ appears at the moment of judgment in a burst of light and color, surrounded by clouds and putti and flanked by the apostles.
   He blesses the saved, shown at lower left, while Saint Michael shepherds the damned into hell burning in the distance at the right.

The Crucifixion

From 14th Century To 15th Century

From 14th Century To 15th Century

During the 14th and 15th centuries, artists in Europe began to break away from the traditional Gothic style. They began to experiment with new techniques and styles, resulting in a period of great creativity and innovation in the arts. Some of the most famous artworks from this period include the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the sculptures of Donatello. Box with Romance Scenes     This coffret illustrated with scenes from Arthurian and other courtly literature of the M
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From 1819 To 1826

From 1819 To 1826

The 19th century was a time of great change in the world of art. Artists began to experiment with new styles and media, and the art world was forever changed as a result. Some of the most famous artists of the time include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. The Falls of Niagara     The painting is of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.     The painting is based on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822. Heroic Landscape w
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From 1787 To 1800

From 1787 To 1800

The 18th century was a time of great change in the world of art. New styles and genres emerged, and artists began to experiment with new techniques and materials. The art of the 18th century reflected the changing times, and the growing interest in the natural world and the human form. Elizabeth Farren (born about 1759, died 1829), Later Countess of Derby     The Irish actress Elizabeth Farren made her London debut in 1777 and soon became one of the most popular comic performers of the day.  
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