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An angel is a supernatural being or spirit, often depicted in humanoid form with feathered wings on their backs and halos around their heads, found in various religions and mythologies.
The term "angel" is related to various notions of spirits found in many other religious traditions. Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God's tasks. The theological study of angels is known as "angelology". In art, angels are often depicted with bird-like wings on their back, a halo, robes and various forms of glowing light.
The angels are represented throughout the Christian Bible as spiritual beings intermediate between God and men: "You have made him (man) a little less than the angels ..." The Bible describes the function of angels as "messengers" but does not indicate when the creation of angels occurred.
Angels In Art
Angels have appeared in works of art for millennia. Angel-shaped beings appear in ancient Mesopotamian and Greek art and were probably the inspiration for the popular Christian image of angels, a popular subject for Byzantine and European paintings and sculpture.
Angels are always intended, in both Christian and Islamic art, to be beautiful. As a matter of theology, they are spiritual beings who do not eat or excrete and are genderless. Many angels in art may appear to the modern eye to be gendered as either male or female by their dress or actions.
The earliest known representation of angels with wings is on the "Prince's Sarcophagus", discovered in the 1930s at Sarigüzel, near Istanbul. From that period on, Christian art has represented angels mostly with wings, as in the cycle of mosaics in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Four- and six-winged angels, drawn from the higher grades of angels like cherubim and seraphim and often showing only their faces and wings, are derived from Persian art and usually shown only in heavenly contexts, as opposed to performing tasks on earth.