Friday, April 29, 2011

Cradled by an angel

This picture of figures cradled by an angel dates from the 12th century. The headdresses suggest that these are nuns; the red robes suggest martyrdom. I don't know anything else about the illustration.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Archangel Gabriel

This illustration is an illumination from the Heures de Charles de France, 1495. Notice the lily, the flower often shown in pictures of Gabriel.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The angel at the open tomb

This is part of an engraving by Gustave Doré. It illustrates the account of the Resurrection from Mark 16: "On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side..." of the open tomb. Christ has risen; he has risen, indeed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Angels preparing to open the tomb

I wish I knew the source of this illustration. It is included in one of Dover's collections of royalty-free art, but there is neither a description of the image nor an attribution.

It is possible that the angels are simply guarding the Lord's body, but from the position of the hands, to me it looks like they are preparing to open the tomb.

If you know anything about the source of this image, would you please leave a comment?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An angel in Gethsemane

This engraving by Gustave Doré shows an angel coming to comfort Jesus as he agonized before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Read a devotion about Jesus in the Garden.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Angels and the Holy Child

This sweet picture of Jesus, Mary, and musical angels was painted by Marianne Stokes in 1893 when she was 38 years old.

While an exhausted Mary rests her head on the hay, an alert baby gazes at the viewer. The baby is attended by two angels who have taken the form of somber children. The red of their robes may pre-figure the Passion of Christ. The mood is quiet, except for what one imagines is soft music played by the angels.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

14th Century: St Michael

"For the most part, the spiritual guidance of angels is so unobtrusive as to go undetected. They will never compromise our free will. We are never forced to follow that which would be spiritually beneficial for us." --Louisa May Alcott
Icon of St Michael, Greek, 14th Century

Friday, April 15, 2011

Joachim's Dream

"The angel is actually the message himself. His appearance is the message that heaven is intensely concerned with us..." --H.C. Moolenburgh
Detail of Joachim's Dream by Giotto di Bondone, a fresco in the Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Edward A. Fellowes-Prynne:
O all ye fowls of the air

O all ye Fowls of the Air, bless ye the Lord: praise him, and magnify him for ever. --Benedicite, trans. Book of Common Prayer

O all ye fowls of the air by Edward A. Fellowes-Prynne

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Daniel's Vision

"An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision." St. Thomas Aquinas
Detail of Daniel's Vision by Willem Drost, 1850

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dance of the Angels

"The angel is then called spirit and fire: spirit, as being a creature of the intellectual sphere; fire, as being of a purifying nature..." --Gregory of Nazianus
Angels Dancing in Front of the Sun, 15th Century, Italian

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

St Michael and the dragon

...even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!" Jude 1,9

Miniature from the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, c. 1410-1416

Sunday, April 3, 2011


The materialist assumption that spiritual substances do not exist is as much an act of faith as the religious belief in the reality of angels. --Mortimer Adler

Detail from a 16th century Arabian manuscript

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Angel making music

Music is well said to be the speech of angels. --Thomas Carlyle

Angel with Lute by Rosso Fiorentino

Friday, April 1, 2011


What interests me about this painting of the Annunciation is that both Gabriel and Mary seem to be in an attitude of prayer. Gabriel is not confronting Mary, but rather serving as a conduit. The clear message in their posture as well as in Gabriel's gesture to Heaven is that this message comes from God.

The painter symbolizes each figure in flowers, as well: Gabriel with the lily and Mary in the purity of the white rose.

The Annunciation by William Bouguereau, 1888