(The word angel is derived from the Greek word angelos, which means messenger.)
Throughout history angels have been portrayed as spiritual beings, sent by God as messengers or protectors. Many people believe in the presence of guardian angels as spirits sent to watch over them during difficult times in their lives, and some report seeing angels during near-death experiences.
Numerous Italian Renaissance painters and sculptors, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Sandro Boticelli are well known for depicting angels in many of their masterful works of art. Raphael’s famous Madonna di San Sisto (Sistine Madonna) shows Madonna holding the Christ Child, flanked by Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara, standing on clouds while two distinctive winged cherubim rest on their elbows beneath them. Italian painter of the Baroque period Marcantonio Franceschini (1648–24 December 1729) had a long career painting canvases on religious, mythological subjects, and angels for patrons throughout Europe. His ethereal Guardian Angel painting depicts an angel protecting a baby.
Photo at top of page: Archangel Gabriel painted by Leonardo da Vinci