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Glory to God in the Highest by DouglasRamsey Glory to God in the Highest by DouglasRamsey
Acrylic on canvas 36" x 72"

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

LUKE 2:13-14

Finally got around to repainting and having a quality photo taken of this one. Still not completely happy with it though. I really ought to try to sell this one off so that I can't fuss with it anymore.

In case anyone's wondering, the angels in my paintings don’t have wings because the Bible doesn’t describe them with any. In fact, the earliest reference to winged angels in Jewish literature comes from the pseudepigraphal book of 1 Enoch.

It’s true that cherubim and seraphim have wings but those are composite creatures with both animal and human features. Messenger-angels are described as having a more human appearance and even though biblical writers take the time to notice details about them like golden belts and gleaming legs, they omit any mention of wings. To me, these would be an even more attention-grabbing feature, so the fact that they aren’t noticed implies that they didn't have them.

Apart from the biblical descriptions, I have to confess that doing this painting may have biased me (just a little) in favor of wingless angels since I really didn’t want to deal with the visual confusion involved in trying to depict a multitude of winged angels.
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:iconshark235:
shark235 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Finally a biblical correct angel!
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:iconhelevornart:
HelevornArt Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great depiction of angels! To my shame, I didn't know that angels in the Bible had different forms, so I liked reading it in your description and seeing wingless angels!
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:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015
Well, even though the Bible mentions angels frequently it's pretty sparing with what it tells us about them. Thanks very much for your kind words!
Reply
:iconkazmierczuk:
kazmierczuk Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
Nice vision:)
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:icondonwhitt:
donwhitt Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome!
Inspiring work!  Beautiful!
Reply
:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
Thanks!
Reply
:icondeanmarshall:
DeanMarshall Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
Beautiful! <3 <3 
Reply
:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner May 1, 2014
Thanks!
Reply
:iconfabguy:
fabguy Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014
great stuff, douglas, thank you!
Reply
:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014
Much appreciated!
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:iconfabguy:
fabguy Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016
yvw!
Reply
:iconemberblue:
Emberblue Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Glory to God in the highest! Merry Christmas!!!  :squee:
Reply
:icondoodlelyle:
DoodleLyle Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013
I really like the grouping of the angels.  The "s" curve is rally nice--actually the whole composition works really well.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  Looks great!
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:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013
Thanks very much Jimmy. I do actually like this one better now with the recent changes I made to it. It’s just one of those pictures where you keep wondering, “What if I take out this, or maybe add this here, and then make this smaller?” and on and on.
Reply
:icondoodlelyle:
DoodleLyle Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013
The adage is:  No piece is ever "finished" you just eventually give up!  ;)
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:iconfeesu-san:
Feesu-san Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Student Filmographer
Awesome and true!
Reply
:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013
Thanks very much!
Reply
:icon370wii:
370wii Featured By Owner May 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
wow!
Reply
:iconmacrocosmique:
Macrocosmique Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wonderful !
Reply
:iconneverthirst:
neverthirst Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
still a personal favorite, the composition is SO amazing.
Reply
:iconsvetanima:
SvetAnima Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012   Traditional Artist
Awesome!!
Reply
:icontealism:
Tealism Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Student General Artist
Your paintings that illustrate the bible are breathtaking :)
Reply
:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012
Thanks so much!
Reply
:iconisaaczen:
IsaacZen Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012
Beautiful! Outstanding!

Finally some one who don't go to the cliche "winged humans" for angels.

The vortex in the top kind of reminds me God from the Divine Comedy.

Congrats! Kepp up the good work.
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:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012
Thanks very much! The vortex was inspired partly by Dore's illustrations from "Paradise Lost" where it's created by forms of the angels themselves.
Reply
:iconkini080121:
Kini080121 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2012
love this :)
Reply
:iconsinnerinchrist:
sinnerinchrist Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
:clap: I love the layout, the lighting, and the angel's poses! It's just marvelous! The lighting and poses of the Men and sheep are wonderful too... and they really add to the drama that is too often missing in Artistic interpretations!
Thanks!
Reply
:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2012
I really appreciate your request but I think the current digital photo of this piece would print terribly. This painting is very large (3 feet by 6 feet) so taking a quality image of it is pretty difficult, and really requires a professional photography studio. I do plan to get that done sometime this year but if you bought a print of the image that’s uploaded right now I don’t think you’d be getting your money’s worth.
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:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012
Means a lot. Thanks!
Reply
:iconjesussavedme777:
JesusSavedMe777 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is beautiful :) should have been a DD on Christmas.
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:iconjadscriber:
Jadscriber Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Love it :D
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:iconarlibrarian:
arlibrarian Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
Very Nice, Merry Christmas!
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:icondeernectar:
DeerNectar Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Incredible....I'm just, wow, I wish I knew what to say but I didn't want to favorite without commenting. Splendid work!
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:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2012
I'm really flattered by that, thanks!
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:iconmatthewpalfenier:
MatthewPalfenier Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2011  Student General Artist
What a unique image! Really powerful!

God bless!
Reply
:iconhope-road:
Hope-Road Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow!
Reply
:icondoeray-g:
Doeray-G Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
The only beings I ever read of that had wings were the four that traveled with the wheels and had the wings covered with eyes and the cherubim and the two women with stork wings that carried the pot where the woman was inside.
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:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011
Well, that’s right except the four living creatures are cherubim (Ezek 10:20). The seraphim may be another type of being since Isaiah 6:2 describes them with six wings instead of four, but who knows?
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:icondoeray-g:
Doeray-G Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
yeah i get them (cherubim) mixed up all the time. and the six wing was the one i was talking about so thanks for that too. no wait- the four wing- uh! gotta find out again.
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:iconpatrucca:
Patrucca Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011  Student General Artist
I like the composition & sue of negative space! :D

-P.A.
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:iconwhatwazthat:
whatwazthat Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2011
absolutely phenominal. I love it!
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:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2011
Thanks very much!
Reply
:iconwhatwazthat:
whatwazthat Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011
you're very welcome!
Reply
:iconjoshuarichard:
joshuarichard Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2011  Student Artist
glory to god in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Reply
:iconemberblue:
Emberblue Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
We are featuring this on the home page of :iconchristians: in our Featured Deviation Awards section. This is a beautiful piece and perfect for the Christmas season. :aww:

I like your take on angels. I never thought about the fact that wings are not mentioned. I really like how you portrayed the shepherds falling back on the ground in amazement and fear. :love:

Glory to God in the highest!!!
Reply
:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2011
Wow, thank you very much. I’m really honored by that.

I probably should add that I’m not super-confident about angels being wingless, since they are able to alter their appearance at times. In fact I did another piece with an angel just last Christmas who originally had wings. I decided to include them because Isaiah says the seraphim used wings to fly and the angels in this story seem to do that. After I started working on this new painting though, and thought more about the whole question of angels being winged vs. wingless, I decided the latter was a bit more probable and he was “de-winged.” And for some reason, without the wings the piece seemed to take on a little more verisimilitude.
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:iconemberblue:
Emberblue Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
This has got me curious, where did the idea come from that angels have wings? I really wonder when that started. Obviously it was a long long time ago, but I'm very curious why early Christian artwork has winged angels. Maybe it is because the wings make them seem even more magnificent?

Jesus ascended into heaven and He didn't have wings. Maybe angels are the same way.

Merry Christmas!!! :holly:
Reply
:icondouglasramsey:
DouglasRamsey Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2011
Well, the idea first shows up in the intertestamental period with 1 Enoch 61:1 which says, “And I saw in those days how long cords were given to those angels, and they took to themselves wings and flew, and they went towards the north.”

The earliest known Christian image of an angel is in the Catacomb of Priscilla, which dates to the third century AD. Interestingly, the angel is wingless, and so are the other very earliest examples of angels in Christian art. The first known representation of winged angels appears on the fourth century “Prince's Sarcophagus” near Constantinople, and from then on, Christian art almost always depicts angels with wings.

As to your question about where the winged-angel idea came from, my guess is that descriptions of winged cherubim and seraphim (and maybe even those weird stork-winged women) were eventually applied to all types of angels. They are pretty mysterious beings and distinctions between them are easy to blur. Also, the idea could have been imported from other cultures, since Mesopotamian art portrayed protective genies with wings, along with a variety of demons.

Merry Christmas!
Reply
:iconemberblue:
Emberblue Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I had no idea. I've never looked into the history of angels in art. That is fascinating. :) Thanks for sharing.
Reply
:iconfifekun:
Fifekun Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
What a GLORIOUS day that was/is!!! :3
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Details

Submitted on
November 28, 2011
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4.1 MB
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3002×6005
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Camera Data

Make
Canon
Model
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II
Shutter Speed
1/100 second
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50 mm
ISO Speed
100
Date Taken
Dec 4, 2013, 1:47:50 PM
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