About this artwork
Saint Michael was one of the seven archangels of God in the Old Testament, and he led the heavenly host against God’s enemies in the book of Revelation. This sculpture represents Michael’s battle against Satan, who lies at his feet, pierced by the saint’s lance. This subject would inevitably have been associated with the hope of salvation, since Saint Michael was often depicted weighing the souls of the blessed and the damned in images of the Last Judgment. This wood sculpture is a powerful example of the inﬂuence of trends from northern Europe on the art of Spain in the second half of the fifteenth century through the importation of works of art and craftsmen. The angular, dancing rhythm of the saint’s pose and the tight, graphic quality of the details of his shield, hair, and wings may reﬂect sources in northern European prints, such as the engravings of Master E. S. These elements would originally have been enhanced by a painted and gilded surface, which at some point was stripped away.
- Saint Michael and the Devil
- Poplar, formerly polychromed and gilded
- 52.4 × 22.9 × 21.3 cm (20 5/8 × 9 × 8 3/4 in.)
- Chester D. Tripp Endowment