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The Destroying Angel... (central figures)

The Destroying Angel and Daemons of Evil Interrupting the Orgies of the Vicious and Intemperate is an oil painting by English artist William Etty, first exhibited in 1832. With this openly moral piece, Etty hoped to respond to critics who found his nude paintings indecent and in poor taste. It depicts a classical temple under attack from a destroying angel and a group of daemons. Some of the occupants are dead or unconscious; others flee in terror or struggle against the daemons. When first exhibited The Destroying Angel was widely praised for its technical brilliance, but critics were divided on the subject matter. Some praised its vividness and ability to mix fear and beauty without descending into tastelessness; others criticised its theme as inappropriate, and chastised Etty for wasting his talents. Joseph Whitworth donated the painting in 1882 to the Manchester Art Gallery, where it remains. (Full article...)

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