Follow TV Tropes

Following

Angelic Beauty

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prettyangel2_6358.jpg
Advertisement:

Heavenly beings that demonstrate their goodness and divinity through their equally beautiful physical appearance.

We all know angels run the gamut from being light-based mind shattering horrors to the basically human, and the human flavor are almost always divinely hot. This rule is almost without exception.

This trope is largely derived from Greek theories of divinity and beauty. Philosophers like Plato and Aristotle thought that the gods were closer to Goodness Itself than humans and as such should be more perfect in all dimensions, including aesthetics. This theory that ultimate goodness includes perfect beauty would become re-popularized in the context of the angels around The Renaissance, after philosophers like Thomas Aquinas and artists like Petrarch attempted to fit the Greek theory of beauty into Christianity.

Advertisement:

As one would expect, this is an exceptionally popular trope in Renaissance and Romantic-era religious Art. More biblically based descriptions of angels and God appearing as benevolent terrors would go out of style until this trope became seen as largely infantile in the twentieth century. Even still, if a work is trying to make a conventional-looking angel, this is trope they go to, whether in Film, Television, Video Games, or any other new medium.

A Sub-Trope of Inhumanly Beautiful Race, when it doesn't apply to human saints, and Beauty = Goodness, since the trope relies on the audience assuming physical beauty reflects the inner perfections of the Heavenly Host. The need to make non-humans beautiful also lead to the Winged Humanoid trope, since artists know what beautiful humans look like better than anything and the wings quickly establish divinity, since they're used to fly around Heaven Above. This trope almost always corresponds with God Is Good when it applies to God. If it doesn't then, the work is probably using Light Is Not Good because the audience has a tradition-ingrained association with the divine and the beautiful. Divinely Appearing Demons often imitate the divine by taking on the beauty and light this trope associates with them.

Advertisement:

Contrast Hot as Hell. Their boss may also be a Hot God as well. Not related to Lovely Angels.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • An ad campaign for Lynx deodorant used the tagline "angels will fall", and showed hot female angels plunging from Heaven to earth to be near the guy spraying on Lynx. Axe ran a similar campaign in the US.
  • The Victoria's Secret Angels

    Anime and Manga 

    Art 
  • The Apollo Belvedere shows the god casually walking about in a human form, which is of course devoid of all imperfections and fit to every Greco-Roman criteria of beauty. The sheer ease of Apollo's walk lets the audience know this isn't one of the forms the gods shapeshift into for the sake of deceit, rather they are effortlessly beautiful when they are just being them. This standard of godly beauty shown off here would become the standard for divine sculptures in the Renaissance, especially regarding the works of Bernini.
  • Rosso Fiorentino's The Dead Christ With Angels shows the scourged, crucified, and lanced corpse of the Son of God as a muscular nude flooding with light. There isn't a bruise or a drop of blood on him, to the point that if you didn't know the subject, you'd think he was a sleeping god rather than the corpse of the God.
  • Michelangelo:
    • His sculpture of an Angel in the Basilica of San Domenico is a child whose hair and wings are so well-ordered that not a feather or hair pop out of place. The whole body of the angel is ordered to make it pleasant to look at, just as the angel's whole being has been ordered to perfection by God.
    • The David is representing the king's saintliness rather than his literal physical appearance, and as such David is a flawless man deep in thought and full of life. The tell that the sculpture shows his spiritual status as a foreshadowing of Christ is that his penis is uncircumcised despite being a Jewish king.
    • Pietà:
      • The dead Christ shows no signs of death, with even his famous wounds reduced to nail marks. Instead, Christ looks like a beautiful man fully alive, with luscious hair, healthy veins flowing down his strong arms, and an expression of serenity that shows the beatitude he shares with the Father and the Holy Ghost as one of the Holy Trinity.
      • The Virgin Mary doesn't have a wrinkle on her despite the 33-year old son she holds in her arm. She retains all the youthful beauty of a virgin, not only because she is one, but because her Immaculate Conception and mothership of God have made her closer to the source of all life and goodness than any other, allowing the beauty of Paradise to shine in her more than any born of Eve.
  • Raphael:
    • The Archangel Michael in St. Michael Vanquishing Satan is a well-toned, pale-skinned youth with a face at peace and a step as light as can be when crushing the Devil into Hell. Despite being a warrior, Michael shows no sign of scarring or gore since his total contemplation of the Trinity has rendered him immune to the death and suffering Satan has brought into the world; in fact, that beauty is what allows him to crush the deformed demon out of the idyllic landscape of Paradise and into the gaping void of eternal darkness.
    • Sistine Madonna:
      • This Madonna is a woman of skin white as snow and hair smooth as silk, both befitting her stainless soul graced by the Holy Spirit and her virginal body wherein God the Son was conceived.
      • The two cherubim at the bottom of the portrait are portrayed as chubby little children leaning on the fourth wall. Their wistful looks render them positively adorable, which works quite well as a way to make audiences admire and long for their holy innocence.
  • Sistine Chapel:
    • In all the ceiling frescoes, God is not a shown as a disembodied hand or a collection of light, but as a man with all his natural powers, stretching His massive arms as they create souls and flipping his long locks behind Him to see Day and Night be separated from each other. Michelangelo manages to to give God the height of human beauty despite depicting as an old man; he achieves this by giving God a massive grey beard without any wrinkled skin or emaciated limbs.
    • Christ in The Last Judgement foregoes the traditional beard and wounds given to Him in traditional art so render him a youthful and pristine Apollo-like figure. His muscles are highlighted by a Holy Backlight just as the light contrasts with his wavy brown hair, all their to show the divine perfection of Christ.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquiessence in Lady Death was an female angel sent by Heaven to bring the titular protagonist to their side by seducing her with her intoxicating scent.
  • A pair of angels from The Sandman take the form of immaculate pale-skinned blondes who are as pleasing to the eye as the demons are a torture to look at.
  • Subverted in Hellblazer, where one demon has such a face... because she ripped it off an actual angel.

    Film 
  • In Date With An Angel, the eponymous angel, who gets stranded on Earth after breaking her wing in a collision with a satellite, becomes the face of the 'Celestial Beauty' campaign being run by a cosmetics company.
  • The final ghost of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past appears as an incredibly beautiful angel in a flowing white dress.
  • The Devil's Advocate: The Devil briefly takes on his celestial form at the end after exploding into a fiery rage, essentially looking like Keanu Reeves with angel wings.
  • Little Nicky: When Nicky finds himself in Fluffy Cloud Heaven, the angels are all attractive perky women. One of them, played by Reese Witherspoon, reveals that she's his mother.
  • The Lord of the Rings: A rejected idea from the third film was to have Sauron (who is basically a Fallen Angel only appearing as an Evil Overlord) appear in his fair form as Annatar to beguile Aragorn during the final battle at the gates of Mordor. This did result in some deleted footage, but was replaced with the Aragorn vs. Troll fight.
  • The Prophecy: Zigzagged by the different angels. Gabriel is played by the gaunt-looking Christopher Walken, Lucifer is played by an attractive-but-still-scary Viggo Mortensen, Michael is played by leading man Eric Roberts, and Pyriel is an outright Pretty Boy (interestingly, also the most evil of those four). Danyael is good-looking enough to get a human woman to fall in love with him, passing his looks on to his hybrid son.
  • Reefer Madness: The Musical: In the song "Listen to Jesus, Jimmy!", Jesus is joined by a dozen backup singers/showgirls dressed in sexy angel outfits.

    Literature 
  • In The Divine Comedy, Beatrice's beauty is constantly topped whenever she ascends to a higher sphere in Heaven and gets that much closer to taking her throne beside the Queen of Heaven. This strange evolution happens because all of Beatrice's life and joy is a reflection of the living light of the Trinity, which makes her so godly that her smile on Saturn would snap a man's mind just as Jupiter's power incinerated Semele on sight. By the time they reach her throne, the poet has totally yielded and admits no words or memory could fully capture her beauty, leaving only the omniscient Creator to ever fully see Beatrice for the goddess He has made her.
    "Here her holy beauty is not denied—ascent makes it more perfect."
  • Heretical Edge: The Seosten look like this and it's the few ways to identify the species, since they don't ping the Stranger-sense. Ethereal is a recurrent adjective.
  • Angels in Lamb take the form of ridiculously attractive blondes. The main angel, Raziel, is sufficiently handsome enough to regularly fluster Biff despite Biff's insistent heterosexuality and Raziel's infuriating stupidity.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, the elf-queen Galadriel has all the majesty befitting one born in the Undying Lands of the West and sanctified by a pure Ring of Power. Her grace is enough to make Gimli the Dwarf overcome his prejudice against elf and swear to devote his life to her, so long as he can have a strand of her splendid hair. It is one of the great tragedies of the War of the Ring that she must leave Middle-earth without the sight of her and go to her home amongst the Powers of Arda in the True West.
  • The Space Trilogy:
    • The Green Lady of Venus is not descended from Adam, so she retains the original goodness humanity lost in Paradise. As such, she has a telepathic link with Jesus at all times and is so innocently beautiful that Ransom casually calls her a goddess shortly after seeing her from afar.
      "Beautiful, naked, shameless, young — she was obviously a goddess: but then the face, the face so calm that it escaped insipidity by the very concentration of its mildness, the face that was like the sudden coldness and stillness of a church when we enter it from a hot street — that made her a Madonna."
    • In That Hideous Strength, the new King Arthur, made immortal after being changed by the gods of the Deep Heavens, retains the freshness of a twenty-year old boy, the golden mane of full-grown man, and the apparent strength of a soldier somewhere between the two. Jane Studdock adores him more after a glance than she ever adored her own husband and feels her beauty grow just by being in his sanctified presence.
  • Aylwyn from The Tales Of Paul Twister combines this with Amazonian Beauty. Paul seems to think she's hot because she's tall and strong and beautiful and also because of her wings.
  • In Till We Have Faces, Psyche's beauty leads the common-folk of Glome to worship her as goddess. Her cult grows to the point that the local priest comes to believe she is the Blessed of their myths and plans to sacrifice her to their god, the Shadowbrute, so she can be his bride in the darkness. Once she meets and marries the god, she becomes prettier than ever and soon after has her own temples where she is worshipped.

    Live Action TV 
  • Ambassador Kosh in Babylon 5 is seen as such by various races due to the Vorlon's Ancient Conspiracy to manipulate the younger races into being Vorlon pawns for the coming battle with the Shadows.
  • Several examples in Supernatural: Castiel is this to many fans; Michael, in the form of Matt Cohen and Jake Abel; Anna from Season 4 and 5; Season 6 briefly introduced another female angel named Rachel. Averted with Zachariah. These may not count as this trope however. They use hosts, so technically the fanbase is finding the human hosts pretty, not the actual angels. The only angel whose celestial form is explicitly described in-story as "beautiful" is Lucifer. The angels themselves are actually of the Angelic Abomination variety, but the show has never shown their true forms.

    Music 

    Tabletop Games 
  • A number of angel pictures on Magic: The Gathering cards fit this, with the first Serra Angel picture (up to 4th edition) just being a mild one.
  • Half-celestial races in Dungeons & Dragons, currently known as devas, are known to have an otherworldly beauty.
    • For related reasons, Aasimars (those with a celestial being in their ancestry) are also frequently quite beautiful.
  • While most demons in Demon: The Fallen drive mortals who witness their true forms insane with horror, the few who still have low Torment do so with the angelic beauty they retained since the Days of Creation.
  • Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels legion in Warhammer 40,000 qualifies, as does his counterpart Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children. Both are Long Haired Pretty Boys and described as the most beautiful of the Primarchs; Fulgrim seemingly being the most physically attractive and Sanguinius radiating a sort of ethereal, not-all-there beauty. This trait also to a lesser degree applies to their chapters, who share a genetic heritage with them.

    Video Games 
  • Lauriel from Arena Of Valor, as the Archangel, takes on the classical 'beautiful blonde female with wings' trope and runs with it with a Stripperiffic outfit. Her Divine Grace skin also takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Bayonetta: Zigzags this trope all over the place. Angels take on a wide variety of non-sexualized forms (Winged Humanoids, Dragons, Wheels, and hot rods for starters). However, hit them hard enough and that all falls off. What's underneath is NOT pretty. Played more or less straight however with the Joys, who appear as hot, jiggly women-like humanoids. Gets mixed in with Hot as Hell considering their behaviour however, given their tendency for Immodest Orgasm.
    • The trope is also played straight with Jubileus.
  • Zig-zagged in Bendy and the Ink Machine: the game occurs within Joey Drew Studios, which had a cartoon angel named Alice Angel among its stars. Alice, the cartoon character, has a cute face and an hourglass figure. But then, there are the attempts to bring the cartoon characters into reality by using the souls of Joey Drew's employees - two of which are versions of Alice, known as Susie and Allison. The first of these that Henry encounters is incredibly deformed and also happens to be criminally insane. The second is much more attractive and much kinder - enough that a halo can be seen over her head with the seeing tool.
  • Uriel (yes, that Uriel) from Darksiders is, as a notable departure from traditional biblical depictions, a Dark-Skinned Blonde Action Girl.
  • Most angels of the Disgaea universe, most prominently Archangel Flonne and Vulcanus(?).
  • While not exactly an angel (more like a member of the Heron, a Winged Humanoid race), Leanne from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn fits in nicely. Her older brothers Reyson and Rafiel are both examples as well.
  • Sort of the case in Kid Icarus: Uprising, where both Pit and Dark Pit are angels who look like cute boys. Played straight with Palutena.
  • Any time a being of angelic origins shows up in the Neverwinter Nights modding community, she will be in possession of Angelic Beauty. Evanine in Tales of Arterra, Anera in Shadowlords, Melissa in Trials of the Academy, any others I haven't mentioned yet...
  • Angels in Nexus Clash have this when they're the angelic classes that don't turn into Clock Punk constructs. The Holy Word really prefer the latter, but someone has to keep up public relations and recruitment.
  • Pokémon: The Gardevoir species has a beautiful, feminine appearance (though it's just as likely to be male as female). According to Word of God, it is supposed to resemble an angel, and its Pokédex entries emphasize its protective nature.
  • Kyra, the Angel of Light, from the mythology of Septerra Core.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series largely averts this. The root-standard "Angel" is a young winged woman... covered in bondage straps, including one over her eyes; it's actually pretty creepy. After that, angels come in two categories: harsh, masculine warrior, or Humanoid Abomination (in other words, close to the Biblical depiction). The only angels that could be described as pretty are Gabriel and Lucifer's angelic form (the one Persona 3 FES dubbed "Helel").
  • Angel in the Tekken series.
  • Played with Zafkiel in Omen of Sorrow, who is very-good looking but doesn't necessarily appears divine like most examples of this trope, since she is an Fallen Angel that lost contact with her fellow celestials during her quest to hunt evil. She still possess blonde hair and occasionally displays wings to mark her true nature.
  • While the majority of sin eaters in Final Fantasy XIV are monsterous in form the strongest among them, Innocence, has a beautiful human form similar to most depictions of Archangel Michael.

     Visual Novel 

    Web Comic 

    Western Animation 
  • The Mortis arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars features the Daughter, embodiment of the Light Side of the Force, who usually takes the form of a beautiful, young woman, who visibly glows.
  • When Sabrina and Salem go back in time to King Arthur's days in Sabrina: The Animated Series...
    Arthur: Be this heaven? For thou must be an angel.
    Sabrina: (giggling) Thanketh thee a lot.
    Salem: I thinketh I'm gonna be sicketh.

Alternative Title(s): Hot Angel, Our Angels Are Hot

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report