War in Heaven


I have always been somewhat fascinated by the story of the war in heaven. If there ever was an actual story that is, considering the fact that so many different ideas about what the Devil is and was, have been conjured throughout the centuries by specific, southern Europeans who would seek to use and exploit the idea of an eternal place of suffering called hell in order to place control amongst the people. I always read into the idea that Lucifer was supposed to be some high and almighty Arch Angel that held himself at such a high esteem to the point that he believed himself to be above God, if not his equal. Such pride eventually led to his downfall as he was cast from paradise along with thousands of angels that followed him in the rebellion against God. I’ve seen different images that have been somewhat tied to a poem called “Paradise Lost” by John Milton, which was a different take on the story of Lucifers fall. Psychologically, our minds can mirror what we see, pain, for example. Even though this is just a picture, my mind still mirrors the feeling of loss, failure, and eternal damnation. I find it hard to explain, but everything from the light, the shade, to the outline around Lucifer’s body, it helps stimulate the feel of how powerful this picture is. The clouds and the shades of it help make the image feel more powerful. The environment, such as the clouds, the rain, all these things help represent Lucifers fall from another realm. (Obviously there is no rain in space.)

The poem by John Milton is more of a book than a poem, hard to understand because it’s written in somewhat of a Shakespearean type language. The story tells of the war in heaven to the fall of man. Satan at the time called Lucifer is supposed to be the most beautiful of the angels of God, arrogant, charismatic, deceptive and powerful. He refuses to bow to God and his son, leading to the angelic war, and his eventual defeat. The famous quote “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n” is stated by Lucifer, and comes from this poem.

Here is a link to the poem if you want to check it out.

  • What do you feel when you see this image?
  • What is your interpretation of this picture?
  • Do you feel the black and white shade helps add to the feel of this picture?

Vissett Som


17 thoughts on “War in Heaven

  1. the light on the upper right corner of the picture looks like it is heaven and the devil is being punished and thrown out of it into the darkness which seems like a bad place to be in, it looks evil and scary. Furthermore, the lines look like rain and the dark grey areas look like dark clouds i think that the thunderstorm is showing God’s anger.

  2. I really liked this image. I think that it being done in such excellent values of black and white only intensifies the effect this images invokes. The is so much going on that it would be nice to see a larger version of this piece. I also like your take on how the idea of a devil has been used through the centuries to control and exploit people.

  3. To me it looks like the devil is being cast out of heaven in to the center of the earth. The earth is is opening to invite him into his eternal home. I do like this piece in black and white, it’s very crisp and I think in color it could be amazing because the complexity of the objects in the piece. With color they would pop out even more. The blues of the earth with blackness of space and the reds of the devil would be impressive.

  4. When I look at this picture I feel anger because it would look way better in color. It looks like they are being thrown down from heaven to Earth. Looks like a typical sci-fi piece.

  5. I love the use of color in this piece. I think that the black represents evil and white represents goodness. What I find interesting is that there is also a gray scale in it as well. It represents that because of the betrayal and battle, the world was no longer black and white, a fallen angel falls into the gray area.

  6. This is a very powerful image with a lot going on within it. I’m not sure if I’m looking at it correctly, but it seems as if satan is falling from heaven extremely fast. It almost seems like a very angry and chaotic piece with everything that is going within the picture. I agree with the others on here, it would be very interesting to this in color. Great Post Visset!

  7. Interesting commentary on a war in heaven, many religions have this story as part of their tradition. I believe it plays a major role in Mormonism. The Bible speaks of Lucifer being an angel of light and being cast out of heaven because of his pride. He then troubles the earth until at the end of the earth he is confined in hell.

    The picture is done extremely well, to me the light and dark are meant to be representations of good and evil, so if it was done in color it wouldn’t have the same meaning. It would be interesting to know how the picture was done, do you know if it was a drawing or a painting?

    The picture gives a feeling of conflict, maybe this is highlighted by the section of the earth that is shown appearing to be the middle east.

  8. I first read the poem Paradise Loste more than 20 years ago, but it is such a powerful poem that I still remember it to this day. The use of chiaroscurro in this piece is symbolic to me of the eternal struggle good vs evil and the contrast is well done; however, I think I would prefer to look at it in color instead of black and white.

  9. I agreed with you and thought all the rain and lightning as well as the use of black and white shading helped create a pretty dramatic and powerful effect towards the piece as a whole. I also think the rain and lighting gives the image a chaotic feel to it; as if the “falling from heaven” idea happened so fast and he had no time to see everything that was happening around him.

  10. Wow, you would think at this age in my life nothing would take me by surprise, yet this topic did! I am familiar with the story but never, ever did I give it any artistic thought. Although I am not a highly religious person, I do have somewhat of a belief, yet this piece spoke volumes to me. This piece dictates a fall from grace and that it is in black and white is artistic and abstract. Were the same piece be in color, in my opinion, would lend itself more towards a movie poster and some of the message would be less impacting on me.

  11. I love this picture. I think the colors in the picture give it more meaning and emotion. The rain in the picture allows you to see the downfall of Lucifer. The lines show you which way the picture is moving and to me it seems as this picture is when Lucifer is being banned from heaven.

  12. Angels have always fascinated me especially because they are so mystical and powerful. This picture is an absolute amazing image of what an archangel would look like. It puts a visual to something that is usually never seen. The colors are very erie and dark but they also show the power and energy in a “holy war”.

  13. I think this image is saying that if saying that when ones reaches heaven all there “demons ” or troubles are left behind. It being in only black and white shows that there is good and bad and nothing in between.

  14. This image is very hard for me to understand. Its very hard to determine what the light sources are (the white parts) I cannot tell if its clouds or some sort of lighting or something else. I;m also very confused on what is in the lower left corner. Is it earth, another planet or what? Overall i think that the black and white does add to the picture.

  15. This is an interesting piece. To me it looks like a guy with wings is falling or flying to earth maybe for good. But i get the impression from the coloring and mood that he is bad. I think the use of black and white gives the viewer different ideas.

  16. Very enticing piece, I love the story attached to it as well. The contrast and mixture of dark and light throughout the painting is very symbolic of a war in heaven: both dark and innocent at the same time.

  17. I agree that this piece had to be done in black and white for the symbolism of good vs. evil. I like how in this picture he is made to look a bit more human despite the wings rather than in the many other representations of him such as all red, or giant, or with horns. I also agree that it clearly looks like he is being thrown out of heaven. I get the feeling of free falling when I see this picture, I like it!

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