The Fallen Angel (painting)

The Fallen Angel
ArtistAlexandre Cabanel
Mediumoil on canvas
Dimensions120.50 cm × 196.50 cm (47.44 in × 77.36 in)
LocationMusée Fabre, Montpellier

The Fallen Angel (French: L'Ange déchu) is a painting by French artist Alexandre Cabanel. It was painted in 1847, when the artist was 24 years old, and depicts the Devil after his fall from Heaven. The painting is at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier.

History and description

In 1845, while he was at the National School of Fine Arts, Cabanel won the second Grand Prix de Rome, which allowed him to move to Italy for a few years. Like all the other residents, he had to send paintings back regularly to testify the progress he was making during his stay in Rome. It was in this context that he painted The Fallen Angel, in 1847. Cabanel opted for a subject not often represented in French painting: the fall from Heaven of the Fallen Angel, who went to become the Devil.

Depicting an angel expelled from heaven by God, the painting shows a saddened Lucifer, with his hands crossed and tears running from his eyes. He lies on the ground, naked, while angels fly in the sky above to show the glory of God.


A romantic work, the figure of the Fallen Angel is painted like a Greek god or hero, with a perfect body and a very expressive look, mixing rage and distrust towards the one who banished him. Its wings darken at the tips, as if rotting before falling. The character in the painting can be compared to Satan, who was a faithful angel before being cast out after rebelling against his Creator. Following this event, some began calling him The King of the Underworld.

In Rome, Cabanel meditated at length on the theme of the fallen angel. He would paint The Evening Angel (1848), in gouache, who can be considered a more peaceful counterpart to the current painting. In this depiction, the angel is dressed in a large drape and doesn't show any sign of anger.

Detail, depicting Lucifer in a state of rage, featuring a single tear-drop.

This page was last updated at 2024-03-24 00:32 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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