Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Edward Fowles, 1971

Trailed by a glowing nebula, this intent angel, painted in fresco by an unknown Italian artist, descends from the heavens and shines brilliantly against the midnight-blue sky. In antiquity, people considered stars living beings and often identified them with angels, and, in ancient literature, angels commonly acted as guides. Author Allison proposes that the star that led the magi to Bethlehem was a similar manifestation to the angel that led the children of Israel out of Egypt.