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Angels are an integral part of Christian art, performing a multitude of roles. Massed together they may form a heavenly choir, glorifying the Virgin Mary or commenting on the surrounding action. Individually, angels can set the scene and engage the viewer, act as messengers between God and man, or become key characters illustrating episodes of Christian history. A Closer Look: Angels explains these diverse roles and the surprisingly complicated history of angels in Western art.
Looking at some of the most engaging paintings in the National Gallery, discover how artistic depictions mirrored the increasing sophistication of angelic doctrine, which eventually proposed the existence of nine types of angel.
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