The Fallen Angel Painting

WHO WAS alexandre cabanel?

Cabanel was a well-known Academic painter and art teacher of his time. His style of painting ranged from portraits to the historical, classical, and religious subject matter.

historical overview

The Fallen Angel painting was also one of the first paintings to depict the Devil or Satan as the subject matter, and sources report that the jurists were “shocked” when they saw it.

portraying the devil

Cabanel’s painting of Lucifer was among one of the first Academic paintings to portray the Devil. It was inspired by the poem Paradise Lost (1667) by John Milton.

subject matter

In The Fallen Angel painting, we see the nude figure of the Devil in rocky surroundings; he is leaning and seemingly half-reclining and tensed manner against a long rock with a flat top.

subject matter

His eyes are fixed ahead of him and speaks a thousand words without saying anything; he is angry, defiant, and wrathful, and considering the context, he appears to be smoldering about what just happened to him.

color and light

There is a juxtaposition of color in the painting, the foreground appears darker with the central figure of the Devil set against the dark browns from the rocks as well as the dark greens of the wreathing foliage around him.

shape and line

There appears to be a harmonious interplay of lines and shapes too, with an emphasis on horizontal and curved lines. Curved lines are visible in the Devil’s wings, the foliage, as well as the Devil’s physique.


The Fallen Angel has been described as “Romanticist”, considering the subject matter. However, Cabanel’s classical style, including that characteristic naturalism, is still evident, coupled with his artistic prowess.