Iconography in Art and Architecture  ..................  Illustrated Dictionaries - Table of Contents

Angels - Iconography in Art and Architecture
Iconography: Study of the symbolic, often religious, meaning of objects, persons, or events depicted in works of art
Research contributions by Gregory L. Witul

On this page:

Gabriel

Michael

Miscellany

Music: Angels with musical instruments

Orders of angels

See also :

Annunciation

Ascension

Assumption (of Mary into Heaven)

Elizabeth

Garden of Eden

Joseph

Nativity/Shepherds


Image History Examples
Gabriel, Archangel Often shown with his trumpet by which he was known as the announcer of the beginning of things, i.e. the Annunciation to Mary and the Last Day of Judgment.

Depicted: Holding trumpet

Acccording to Muslim tradition the prophet Mohammad received his inspiration for the Koran directly from the Archangel Gabriel in the famous cave at Hira, where he had sought refuge while fleeing from his enemies. It has been an important place of pilgrimage for all Muslims on their journey to Mecca some 30 km away. In celebration of this event stalactites became an essential element, imbued with religious connotations.
Stained glass:
St. John's Grace Episcopal Church


Icons:
Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation

Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery
Goritsy, Russia


Church of the Intercession, Kizhi, Russia

Paintings:

Catalonian National Art Museum, Barcelona, Spain

Sgraffito:

Assumption RC Church


Mosaic:

Deesis - Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey


Michael, Archangel An archangel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He is viewed as the field commander of the Army of God. He is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Jude and the Book of Revelation. In the English epic poem Paradise Lost by John Milton, Michael commands the army of angels loyal to God against the rebel forces of Satan.

Armed with a sword from God's armory, he bests Satan in personal combat, wounding his side.

Depictions: Armed with a sword from God's armory, he bests Satan in personal combat, wounding his side.
Stained glass:

Saints Peter and Paul RC Church

St. Joseph RC Cathedral

St. John's Grace Episcopal Church

Our Lady of Victory RC Basilica

Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation

Assumption RC Church

Icons:
Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation

St. Basil's Church, Moscow, Russia


Mural:

Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, Goritsy, Russia


Paintings:

Catalonian National Art Museum, Barcelona, Spain
Miscellany Spiritual being attendant upon God Sculpture: Buffalo Religious Art Center Guardian angel


Stained glass:

Trinity Episcopal Church Hardman window

Trinity Episcopal Church LaFarge window

St. Paul Episcopal Cathedral

Holy Angels RC Church In heaven

Holy Angels RC Church Swinging censcer

Episcopal Church of the Ascension

Annunciation RC Church

Buffalo Religious Arts Center /St. Francis Xavier RC Church Several
Music: Angels with musical instruments Revelation 8:2 ...seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.

Revelation 15:2-3 They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb.

Depicted in choir loft rose windows, sometimes with Saint Cecilia playing an organ (See illustration above)
Stained glass:

Felician Sisters Convent Chapel
Various instruments

Corpus Christi RC Church Various instruments

First Presbyterian Church, Lockport With lute and cymbals

First Presbyterian Church, Lockport With organ and harp

First Presbyterian Church, Lockport With trumpets

Holy Angels RC Church With lyre

Holy Angels RC Church With horn

Trinity RC Church With lyre?

St. John's Grace Episcopal Church With lyre?

Holy Angels RC Church Coronation of Mary mural

Episcopal Church of the Ascension Angelic orchestra

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church 7 angels

Mural:

St. Casimir's RC Church
 
Orders of Angels

First Sphere

Seraphim (Singular seraph) 

Six wings; two covering their faces, two covering their bodies ("feet"), and two with which they fly.

Caretakers of God's throne and continuously shout praises of "Holy, holy, holy [Sanctus]."

Isaiah 6:1-7:

2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Cherubim (Singular cherub)

Four faces: a man, an ox, a lion, and an eagle. They have four conjoined wings covered with eyes, and they have ox's feet. 

Cherubim guard the way to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden:  Genesis 3:24:  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Cherubim guard the way to the throne of God:  Ezekiel 28:14-16Ezekiel 10:17-20  /  1 Kings 6:23-28

NOTE: The symbols for the Four Evangelists are a man, an ox, a lion, and an eagle.

Thrones Appear as a beryl [dull blue] -colored wheel-within-a-wheel, their rims covered with hundreds of eyes.

Colossians 1:16  / Revelation 11:16


Second Sphere

Dominions 

Look like divinely beautiful humans with a pair of feathered wings. Wield orbs of light fastened to the heads of their sceptres or on the pommel of their swords.

Regulate the duties of lower angels.

Virtues

Their primary duty is to supervise the movements of the heavenly bodies in order to ensure that the cosmos remains in order.

Powers

Warrior angels created to be completely loyal to God. Some believe that no Power has ever fallen from grace, but another theory states that Satan was the Chief of the Powers before he fell.


Third Sphere

Principalities

Wear a crown and carry a sceptre. 

Their duty also is said to be to carry out the orders given to them by the Dominions.

Archangels 

Seven in number. 

They are the highest ranking angels. Only Michael and Gabriel are mentioned by name in the New Testament. Some include Raphael and Uriel.

Angels

"Messengers" or "angels" are the lowest order of the angels, and the most recognized. These angels are sent as messengers to humankind.


Main source: Wikipedia: Christian Angelic Hierarchy

Stained glass:
  
Seraph:
St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral


Mosaic:

Seraphim
: Church on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

Seraph:  Church on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

Cherub:  Church on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia


Mural:
St. Adalbert Basilica


Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2010
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