Fra Angelico’s angels carry in their face and gesture the peace and authority of heaven.
Later come the chubby infantile nudes of Raphael,
finally the soft, slim girlish and consolatory angels of nineteenth-century art, shapes so feminine that they avoid being voluptuous only by their total insipidity – the frigid houris of a tea-table paradise.
They are a pernicious symbol. In Scripture the visitation of an angel is always alarming; it has to begin by saying ‘Fear not’. The Victorian angel looks as if it were going to say ‘There, there.’
CS Lewis – Preface to 1961 Screwtape Letters