Still filled with his raw energy and emotion, Basquiat used acrylics, oilstick and spray paint to create this image. The colours used by Basquiat have been described as "the colours of the street" by writer, Prat, an apt description of the bright star who developed his skills as part of the graffiti duo SAMO.
This untitled Fallen Angel is a fascinating picture yet slighty disturbing. A man-like figure falls or floats against a bright blue background, yet his wings are open wide. His eyes, wide and staring, are slashed with red and his red mouth is open.
He has a halo around his head. The halo which is made up of red, white and black circles is slashed through with paint strokes. This give the halo a jagged and possible thorny appearance.
Some have described the figure's torso as being seen through an X-Ray, with the internal organs and the penis visible. Other pieces of Basquiat's art also show skeletal figures, which some experts have suggested refers to Basquiat's thoughts about his own physicality and mortality Over the right wing is a faint crown, a symbol which appears frequently in Basquiat's work, although this one is quite small and not as clear as others.
It has been suggested that this image of the angel and crown could be symbolic of Basquiat's own sense of destiny or personal mission. He certainly had a sense of destiny, suggesting to friends that he knew he would be a famous artist and would die young.
Although the image appears primitive, the riotous paints in overlapping colours give the image an explosive impact.
Though Basquiat did not have the formal training that other artists have benefitted from, he had years of experience on the street and had visited many art institutions with his mother, educating himself about art history. He was particularly inspired by Picasso. This image sold for $11.2 million in 2008.
Untitled Fallen Angel is an eye-catching piece of art that encapsulates Basquiat's short life perfectly, mirroring his meteoric rise and fall. For a related painting, depicting Lucifer, you should also check out the Fallen Angel painting by Alexandre Cabanel.