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The Fallen Angel By Alexandre Cabanel... Lucifer In The Theosophical Art

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Fallen angels are angels who were expelled from heaven. The literal term "fallen angel" doesn't appear in any Abrahamic religious texts but is used to describe angels cast out of heaven or angels who sinned.

Such angels often tempt humans to sin. Christian theology indicates the sins of fallen angels occurred before the beginning of human history. Accordingly, fallen angels became identified with those led by Lucifer in rebellion against humanity, also equated with demons.

In this article, we shall explore a depiction of The Fallen Angel from an artistic point of view.

Who Is the Fallen Angel?

Before the fallen angel was cast down from heaven, he used to be a high-ranking angel called Azazil, God created the fallen angel from the fires.

Worshipping God for thousands of years, the fallen angel ascended to the surface, after that, thanks to his pertinacious servitude, the fallen angel rose until he reached the company of angels in the seventh heaven.

When God created the human being and ordered the angels to bow down, the fallen angel, a jinn created from fire, refused, and disobeyed God, leading to his downfall.

In the religion of Islam, the fallen angel is often known by the epithet. Some Sufi Muslims hold a more ambivalent role of the fallen angel, considering him not simply as the Devil but also as "the true monotheist".

The Fallen Angel by Alexandre Cabanel.

Alexandre Cabanel (28 September 1823 – 23 January 1889) was a French painter. He painted historical, classical, and religious subjects in an academic style. He was also well-known as a portrait painter.

Cabanel entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the age of seventeen, Alexandre Cabanel painted mythological, religious, and historical subjects with François-Édouard Picot(10 October 1786 in Paris – 15 March 1868 in Paris). Alexandre Cabanel exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1844 and won the Prix de Rome scholarship in 1845 at the age of 22.

Cabanel was elected a member of the Institute in 1863. He was appointed professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1864 and taught there until his death. Alexandre Cabanel's 1863 painting The Birth of Venus is one of the best-known examples of 19th-century academic painting.

Cabanel was closely connected to the Paris Salon: "He was elected regularly to the Salon jury and his pupils could be counted by the hundred at the Salons. Through them, Cabanel did more than any other artist of his generation to form the character of the beautiful Epoch in French painting".

The Fallen Angel is one of the most famous art pieces by the 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 composition embodies ideals of Academic art, mythological subject, soft light transitions, graceful modeling, silky brushwork, and perfect form. The painting is part of the collection of the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France, and is not for sale.

The Fallen Angel L'Ange déchu a painting by French artist Alexandre Cabanel. 1847
The Fallen Angel L'Ange déchu French artist Alexandre Cabanel. 1847

The Fallen Angel In the Theosophical Abstract Art...

In the late 19th century and the early 20th century, the theosophical movement evoked by the occult Helena Blavatsky did not find better than abstraction art to deliver its messages subliminally to the public. The three forerunner artists, Hilma Af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, and Piet Mondrian were the groundbreaking pioneers of the new style.

The abstraction mystic Hilma Af Klint was a Swedish artist whose paintings are considered among the first abstract works known in Western art history. A considerable body of her work predates the first purely abstract compositions by Kandinsky and Mondrian.

Hilma belonged to a group called "The Five", comprising a circle of women inspired by the Theosophy of Madame Blavatsky, who shared a belief in the importance of trying to contact the so-called "High Masters". On the other hand, Kandinsky openly acknowledges that his art theories are based on the occult teachings of Helena Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy, and author of The Secret Doctrine.

Kandinsky wrote in 1918 “I got everything from the Secret Doctrine of Blavatsky. Although Russian by birth, Kandinsky belonged to the German expressionist movement known as The Bridge founded in 1905. Rejecting their “bourgeois” backgrounds, The Bridge group adopted a bohemian lifestyle, and represented nudity in their art. This group was also strongly influenced by magic through the occult theories of Blavatsky.

Another forerunner in Abstract Art is the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, Mondrian was also a theosophist and a close friend of the philosopher and theosophist Mathieu Hubertus Josephus Schoenmaekers (13 December 1875, Maastricht - 18 December 1944, Laren) “I am always driven to the spiritual,” Mondrian stated. “Through Theosophy, I became aware that art could provide a transition to the finer regions, which I will call the spiritual realm.”

The Fallen Angel (Lucifer) Painting by Jackson Pollock

Lucifer Painting, in which Pollock freely admitted total retrenchment from traditional methods of oil painting, at some point in the process of painting, Pollock dripped and spattered his paint, not quite completely covering the underlayer.

The scattered vivid Green Paint drippings may represent the presence of Lucifer on the dark matter of the universe "represented as black paint drippings underneath". Lucifer Painting is emphasizing the connection between Jackson Pollock and the theosophical movement.

Lucifer 1947 Jackson Pollock
Lucifer 1947 Jackson Pollock

The Theosophical Society and The Fallen Angel

In September 1875, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891) co-founded the Theosophical Society in New York City. H. P. Blavatsky composed the foundation texts of Theosophy, Isis Unveiled (1877), and The Secret Doctrine (1888). Both became worldwide best-sellers, and the Society came to occupy a position as the most important international movement of its time in the realm of alternative spirituality.

The Secret Doctrine (1888), one of the foundation texts of Theosophy, contains chapters propagating an unembarrassed Satanism.

Theosophical sympathy for the Devil also extended to the name of their journal Lucifer. An assertion of Lucifer as a free will and independent thought’ Blavatsky’s sympathy for the Devil was manifested even before the publication of The Secret Doctrine.

From September 1887 onwards, Blavatsky published a journal named Lucifer. The strikingly positive view of Satan presented by Blavatsky was shocking. Announcing that the shrouds of the fallen angel have fallen, and the theosophical trials to redefine evil had not come to an end yet.

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