I painted Raphael as a Seraphim, the highest Choir of Angels in Christianity. The usual interpretation of Christian angels involves white wings and robes, with trumpets or harps. The bible describes something far more interesting; multiple wings, eyeballs, different faces and heads, animal features, wheels- the descriptions are varied and extremely unusual – even by most angel standards.
Raphael is an Archangel, one of the Big Three (Michael, Raphael and Gabriel). in Christian folklore Raphael was shown as a traveller with a lantern or a staff. He is considered to have strong healing powers and cured Tobit of his blindness and has been the patron angel of Healers since. with that in mind I chose an interpretation where he sees through the eyes on his wings, but his human eyes are blind and blindfolded. he sees all and nothing by the light he provides. the light on his staff is not for him, it’s for his followers.
The Big Three archangels in this series are all mentioned in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Raphael is mentioned in the book of Enoch as the binder of Azazel and in Islamic Hadiths as the one that will blow the trumpet to signal the end of days.