The teaching, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14) is common. And there are many stories all over the Bible of "men" who are angels in human form.

But where does the image of angels of light in a form with wings and curly golden hair come from?

According to the Catholic Church, is this just an artistic form or does the church really think angels look like that?

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Where did angels get their wings?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 13:03
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    The possible duplicate focuses specifically on the basis of the idea that angels have wings. Though this question is related, it is not the same question. In addition to asking where images of angels of light with wings and golden hair come from, it asks specifically whether the Roman Catholic Church things this what angels really look like, or whether that is just an artistic form. Related, but not the same. Perhaps it should be broken up into two questions. But it isn't a duplicate of the question about where angels get their wings. Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 18:16
  • The Ark of the Covenant had a 'mercy seat' above which were cast two golden cherubim ('cherubs' in English) (Ex 25:20; 37:9)—the same kind of angel (or creature we generally class 'angel') which guarded the Garden of Eden with a fiery sword after the Fall. The statues God commanded to made of the cherubim in His Temple were huge and also, of course, had wings (1 Kings 6:27; 1 Kings 8:6-7—cherubim-ception). See also Ezekiel's vision of the ;iving creatures' (Ezekiel 1:5-14). Perhaps these are cherubim or seraphim. Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


The Catechism Of The Catholic Church Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 1, IV explain the question between the images and the First Commandment.

Also it explains about the characteristics of the angels here Part 1, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 1, Paragraph 5, I.

Knowing that, you can understand that the Angels, as completely spiritual beings don't have defined physical forms. In their appearances through the Bible and all History they assumed different looks.

So, representing them as winged humans, with curled, long, or short hair, and any skin colors are artistic representations. But at the same time, they can appear just like those expressions or any other.

Additional info: since most of medieval and renascence sacred arts were made by caucasian Europeans, it makes sense that their representations look like them. But there are lots of images of the Virgin Mary as African, Japanese, American Native for example, that were made by them. So goes the angels.

I'm brazilian and at my city's Cathedral there are an painting of Christ resurrected surrounded by angels of all ethnicities.

I hope I explained enough!


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