Winged messengers appear in a number of religions as intermediaries between the spiritual and material worlds, but appear most often in Islamic, Jewish but most particularly the Christian faiths. The word angel comes from the Greek ‘aggelos’, meaning messenger. Angels make frequent appearances in the Christian Bible, not only as messengers of God but also delivering his protection or punishment. Angels act as God’s intermediaries, carrying out God’s will in the affairs of man.
Symbols closely associated with angels in the art include trumpets, harps, swords, scepters, and wands. Angels are usually portrayed as young men with wings and halos, representing their divinity. The representation of angels as Cupid-like young boys or babies, ‘putti’ did not occur until the period of the Renaissance.
As a tattoo design, an angel is a symbol of devotion, spirituality, and faith and signifies a relationship with God. An angel can be intended as a figure of guidance and protection. An angel is often used as the centerpiece of a tattoo that is intended as a memorial.