Jacopo Bellini, St Michael Defeating Satan, a drawing


British Museum

British Museum

Although few paintings by Jacopo Bellini (about 1400-70/1) survive, both The British Museum and the Musée du Louvre in Paris own a bound volume of his compositional drawings. The London volume contains one hundred and thirty four drawings, nearly all drawn in leadpoint on heavy white paper. As a medium leadpoint is very soft, therefore the line is very faint.According to Revelation, the last book of the Bible, war broke out in heaven and St Michael and his angels defeated the dragon or Satan and the forces of evil. In this two page drawing, St Michael flies across the rocky and fiery landscape of Hell to attack Satan. The Devil cowers at lower right, long horns on his head and bat's wings on his back. The archangel's sword has split open the rocks, allowing a figure to crawl out and another to witness the angelic battle. The main scene takes place on the recto (front) of the sheet and continues onto the verso (back) of the previous sheet.Jacopo was the founder of a family of artists. He worked with both his half brother, Giovanni, and his nephew, Leonardo, while his own sons, Gentile and Giovanni (around 1438-1516), both became major Venetian artists. Both sons, in turn, inherited their father's book of drawings, now in The British Museum. Jacopo's son-in-law was Andrea Mantegna (1430-1506), an artist from Padua who worked at the court of the Gonzaga family in Mantua.

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  • Title: Jacopo Bellini, St Michael Defeating Satan, a drawing
  • Date Created: 1440/1470
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 415.00mm; Width: 335.00mm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: drawn
  • Subject: saint/martyr; angel
  • Registration number: 1855,0811.48
  • Producer: Drawn by Bellini, Jacopo
  • Material: paper
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Mantovani, G B. Purchased through Brown, Rawdon Lubbock. Previous owner/ex-collection Bellini, Anna. Previous owner/ex-collection Bellini, Gentile. Previous owner/ex-collection Bellini, Giovanni. Previous owner/ex-collection Vendramin, Gabriel. Previous owner/ex-collection Soranzo, Jacopo. Previous owner/ex-collection Cornaro, Marco. Previous owner/ex-collection Vecchia. Previous owner Algarotti, Bonomo


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