The unseen angelic realm is one that has attracted the interest of artists and sculptors throughout the ages.
Many of the world’s greatest artworks often depict angels in various forms ranging from tall and fair-skinned to small childlike cherubs.
In this article, we will explore some of the most famous statues of angels that can be found throughout the world, as well as the sculptors behind each work.
Famous Statues of Angels
1. The Statue of an Angel – Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni is one of the world’s most renowned artists and sculptors who lived during the height of the Italian Renaissance period.
More commonly known by his first name, Michelangelo proved to be a master of painting, sculpture, as well as literary works and even architectural designs.
Like most of his contemporaries during the Renaissance era that lasted throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, Michelangelo’s work mostly focused on religious themes from the Christian faith.
One of Michelangelo’s most underrated works of three-dimensional art is a large sculpture of an angel that’s known as The Statue of an Angel.
This sculpture was carved out of precious marble stone and stands at a height of 6 feet when measured from the base of its pedestal to the top.
Completed very early in Michelangelo’s career in 1495, this sculpture depicts a winged angel kneeling down while clutching a large candlestick. Today, this iconic masterpiece is on display in the Basilica of San Domenico in Italy.
2. Angel of the North – Anthony Gormely
There are a wide variety of different size and material differences when it comes to some of the world’s most famous statues.
One of the largest found anywhere on Earth is known as the Angel of the North and stands in northern England near the towns of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.
This immense work is perched atop a high hill overlooking vast stretches of farmlands below in the beautiful English countryside, which makes the giant, winged angel statue visible for many miles around on a clear day.
Also Read: Contemporary Sculptors
This work is attributed to Anthony Gormely, a notable British sculptor whose work focuses on contemporary sculptures like the Angel of the North. Completed in 1998, this statue is said to be the largest sculpture of an angel anywhere in the world.
It draws many millions of visitors annually and with a height of 66 feet and a wingspan of 177 feet, it’s easy to see why this piece has become a landmark for the local area.
3. Angel with the Crown of Thorns – Berini
The Baroque movement is one that is characterized by deeply religious artwork that highlights the contrast between light and dark, which signifies good and evil in most paintings and sculptures from this period.
There is little argument among scholars and critics that the most famous sculptor from the Baroque era was Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who is best known as simply Bernini.
Many of Bernini’s sculptures centered around classical themes such as stories from the Greek and Roman mythological legends, as well as a few Christian figures from the Bible. One of his most celebrated works is titled Angel with the Crown of Thorns.
This masterful sculpture was completed in 1667 and the long, flowing garments worn by the angel appear almost as if they are draped onto the work itself. This sculpture is said to depict an angel removing the crown of thorns from the head of Jesus once he died on the cross.
4. Knife Angel – Alfie Bradley
Among the more famous angel statues found across the world’s most populated cities, some of these works are a clear departure from classical styles and depictions of angels that are spiritual in nature.
One of the most visually distinct angel statues on our list is a work by Alfie Bradely that’s simply known as Knife Angel. This distinct sculpture is not carved out stone, but was instead created using more than 100,000 individual knife blades.
Bradely completed the statue in 2018 and it stands at approximately 27 feet in height, making it not only one of the tallest statues on our list, but one of the most unique in form.
The knives used in this work were sent to the artist from the British Ironworks Centre, which is based in Oswestry, England. Today, the Knife Angel statue can be viewed in downtown Telford, England.
5. Angel with the Superscription – Berini
Among the sculptors that have produced some of the world’s greatest angel statues throughout history, Gian Lorenzo Bernini could be argued as the most prominent among them as most of his greatest works center around angels in various historical and religious stories.
Bernini did a number of works that decorate some of the most well known cathedrals in his home-country of Italy and his sculpture titled Angel with the Superscription is among one of the nation’s most famous churches.
Standing in the Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, this sculpture depicts a winged angel carrying the superscription, which is the sign nailed to the cross above Jesus which is said to have been inscribed with the words “Jesus of Nazreth, King of the Jews.”
This, like Bernini’s Angel with the Crown of Thorns, is one of 10 angel statues in which each angelic figure is depicted holding one of the items associated with Christ’s crucifixion.
6. The Recording Angel – Lorado Taft
Lorado Taft was one of the most notable American sculptors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was known as a gifted artist and sculptor, but also worked as an educator during his career at various points.
He is often described as being one of the best American sculptors from this era and his works ranged from historic figures to religious icons and even symbols associated with certain parts of the United States connected with its history.
One of Taft’s most well known works is a large sculpture titled The Recording Angel. He completed this statue in 1923 and it is described as a winged angel seated with a large book spread open on its lap.
The angel appears to be female and Taft explained the work by saying that the angel was assigned by God to record all events, actions and prayers of each individual human. It is located in the Forest Mound Cemetery in Waupun, Wisconsin.
7. Habakkuk and the Angel – Berini
Yet another angelic statue created by Bernini is worthy of being added to our list as it perfectly displays the sculptor’s mastery of depth and perspective in his works.
The statue is titled Habbakuk and the Angel and is based on a story that is found in the book of Daniel, chapter 14.
This particular chapter is one that is often excluded from protestant Bibles and there is much debate as to the authenticity of the work, yet Bernini captured the scene perfectly.
The statue is one of Bernini’s greatest and portrays the angel pulling the prophet’s hair, leading him in a direction toward Daniel, who is incarcerated in the lion’s den. This large sculpture was completed in 1661 and sits in the Chigi Chapel in Rome, Italy.
8. Angelic Salutation – Veit Stoss
Veit Stoss was a prolific German sculptor who lived and worked during the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Most of his works were done in wooden sculpture as stone was relatively difficult to obtain in certain parts of German during his lifetime and wood was much more affordable.
He is known to have completed a range of sculptures that were meant to adorn the various churches and cathedrals in and around his home country of Germany.
One of Stoss’ greatest works is a large sculpture titled Angelic Salutation. This masterful wooden statue depicts the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and was completed later in his career in 1518.
It hangs in the medieval church of St. Lorenz in Nuremberg, Germany and is suspended today using metal chains.
9. Angel of Grief – William Wetmore Story
William Wetmore Story is regarded as one of the most gifted sculptors from American history–particularly from the 19th century when most of the nation’s artists were more interested in capturing visual artwork in the two-dimensional medium using new forms of acrylic paint.
Story was also an accomplished poet and literary master who also was a respected critic later in his life.
One of his most famous sculptures is another prominent angel statue titled Angel of Grief and is located in Rome, Italy.
This work was completed by Story in 1894 and features the figure on a winged angel draped across a headstone, weeping over the death of a saint.
10. Angel of Independence – Antonio Rivas Mercado
One of the most iconic statues of angels in the world is a beautiful work created by Antonio Rivas Mercado in 1910.
This incredible statue, commonly known as “The Angel” among locals where it stands atop a victory column in the middle of a roundabout on the major thoroughfare of Paseo de la Reforma in downtown Mexico City.