The Angel of Death. Few archetypes have inspired the imagination of artists the world over the way this enigmatic figure has.
It has been painted, sculpted, lauded in verse, and exquisitely described in prose. It takes on myriad forms with a host of names and reminds us of our own mortality and the end to all things. We fear it, yet we must all embrace it in the end. It is a constant regardless of religion or creed. Death is, and it claims us all.
This list is dedicated to those artists who have brought to stunning life this captivating figure. Take a look at these beautifully rendered images and let us know which are your favorites!
In Islamic tradition, Azrael is considered the most reverent of archangels. He does not work independently of the will of Allah. He is not death personified but rather acts as a psychopomp who pulls the souls from the bodies of those who die according to the will of Allah and carries them to the afterlife. This image is beautifully brought to life by this artist. Notice the minute details in the wings and sword.
It has become common to merge the Grim Reaper image with the Angel of Death though the Reaper image is much younger in the grand scheme of things. It is believed that the Reaper was a product of the Black Plague. His skeletal form reminiscent of the piles of bodies that lined the streets and his scythe a harvesting tool as he reaped lives by the thousands without thought to their station. This image blends the two ideas beautifully!
Another gorgeous image of the Angel of Death, this time holding out a hand to a waiting soul…
One of the most unusual depictions I found in my search through the thousands available. Death here is female dressed in solid white. She appears to have climbed down a ladder to a waiting hospital bed. That lost feather floating in the air is almost sad to me…
This final representation of the Angel of Death is one of my very favorites. The sculpture sits over the tomb of Francis Haserot. The Angel sits atop the tomb with a torch inverted on the ground, snuffing out the flame of life. The statue has also come to be known as the Weeping Angel for the mysterious black stains that appear upon its cheeks. Locals believe the statue and the location are both haunted, and yet it’s become a popular visitation site in Cleveland’s Lakeview Cemetery.
Well, there you are…five of my favorite modern representations of the Angel of Death. What are some of yours? Let us know in the comments!