20 December 2009
There can be no divine angels without fallen angels. The most famous messenger to fall from heaven was Lucifer, his name meaning Morning Star. Perhaps the first to fall was the mortal Icarus of Greek mythology. Wearing wings of feathers and wax he flew too close to the sun; his appendages melted and he fell into the sea to his death. Both Lucifer and Icarus are popular motifs in the visual arts. Paul Gustave Doré (1832-1883) illustrated Satan in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost. The aging, bedridden Henri Matisse (1869-1954) chose Icarus as one of the images for his circus themed book Jazz. Some angels elect to fall to earth. In Wim Winders' film Wings of Desire (1987), the angel Damiel gives up his wings and his mortality when he falls in love with a trapeze artist.