This is an image from the play Lucifer. In this image, Lucifers followers are sorrowful because Gabriel has just announced that angels will be lower than humans. It is an influential and controversial work by Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679), the colossus of Dutch literature, regarded as a major influence on Milton’s Paradise Lost. In the story, Lucifer returns from Eden, his wings singed by the beauty of Adam and Eve’s world, longing for the pleasures of their flesh.
The artist, Johannes Josephus Aarts was a Dutch painter, illustrator, lithographer, engraver, etcher, writer, academic teacher and director, lecturer, sculptor and book-cover designer.