Advent Calendar Day 2

Raphael Angel


Study for an angel by Raphael

Bathed in divine light, the angel in this red chalk drawing by Renaissance artist Raphael commands worship of God with his pointing left arm, guiding our attention upwards. He expresses tenderness towards humanity below with his more open right hand.

The symbol of the angel is strongly associated with Christmas, due to the important role that angels played as messengers in the traditional Christmas story.

This was Raphael’s preparatory drawing for a detail in the mosaic decoration at the Chigi Chapel in the church of S. Maria del Popolo, Rome, where God the Father in the centre of the ceiling is encircled by the sun, the stars and the six known planets, each with a commanding angel. This angel appears above Jupiter. 

Study for an angel, c.1515–16
Raphael (1483–1520)
Red chalk on laid paper
19.7 x 16.7 cm

Not currently on display
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