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Angels in European Art

Virgin and Child Holding the Cross, 16th century, by follower of Rogier van der Weyden

Angels, understood in Abrahamic religions as intermediaries between heaven and earth, are recurring subjects in European religious art. Some angels, such as Michael or Gabriel, have specific names and recognizable iconography. Others are unnamed spiritual beings typically identified by their unearthly beauty and wings. In each case, artists depicting angels creatively face the challenge of imagining the divine and unknowable.