Evening (The Fall of Day), William Rimmer, 1869-70

A sun in the center of the sky hovers above a low, watery horizon. An angel made of pure muscle seems to leap from this horizon, his back toe just resting on the edge of the water, thrusting the rest of his body with heavy, feathery wings expanded, into the center of the composition.

His whole body is twitching with motion; his hand reaches up and back to the sun that falls behind him. All limbs are outstretched and exposed, his head shot back as well, leaving his jaw lit but his face in shadow, surrounded by a shroud of whispy, curly hair.

Crayon, oil, and graphite on canvas. At the MFA in Boston.


The rest of the painting is left blank, allowing us to focus on the pose and outstretched motion of the angel, who is somehow being lit from the front even with the sun behind him. The dark weighty feathers of his wings are given details only where necessary.

His overly lined musculature is perfectly sketched in brown outline and shading before a light shade of orange was applied – the same orange added at the edges of his great wings for accent.



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Evening (The Fall of Day), William Rimmer, 1869-70, 4.2 out of 5 based on 31 ratings


  1. The figure is not, in fact an angel, but rather the Greek god Apollo, representative of music, poetry, the sun, medicine, and knowledge.

    • I don’t believe this painting to be Apollo. The person depicted in this image lacks a gender, Apollo is distinctly male (even had a few male lovers). Lucifer on the other hand is an angel, and angels lack the ability to procreate because they are servants of the lord. Also Apollo is never portrayed with wings, just as a young male figure. Lucifer means “bringer of light” and the picture shows the bringer of light (the sun) descending into darkness. Angel’s greatest punishment is to be isolated from God, this causes great anguish, the figure in the painting is reaching for the sky in great pain as he falls into his enviable fate. The statue in Parque del Buen Retiro (shows the fall of Satan into darkness) shares almost exact similarity to this painting. This statue is one of a kind because it is the only public statue depicted of Lucifer. The statue is genderless, Hand is on forehead in agony, wings are spread, and the head is stretched back. And in no work of art is Apollo portrayed with these characteristics. Also if Rimmer did look back and gain influence from classic Greek art, I think the Apollo in this painting would have had some form of similarities to the original work.

      Read more: When and why did Led Zeppelin change the William Rimmer painting of Lucifer (the swan song logo) from having one hand in the air (like in the painting) to having both hands in the air? | Answerbag http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/16848#ixzz2EvZD94Lp

      • i think the confusion came from an early description attributed to Rimmer where he identified the figure as Apollyon aka the angel Abaddon, a frequent stand-in for Lucifer. People who did not know who Apollyon was assumed he meant Apollo.

      • au contrare, The angels who came down in the book of Genesis mated with human women and created a race of giants.

  2. The concept of “Lucifer” as Satan is erroneous. The only time the word Lucifer is used in the Bible is in Issiah (not surprising as it is a Latin term, and has no place in an ancient Hebrew text), and clearly has absolutely nothing to do with an angel, or the Devil.

  3. This is Icarus, son of Daedalus.


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