The story of the Archangel Michael’s victory over Satan and the renegade angels is told in Revelation (12, 7-9). As a Christian knight, St. Michael was perceived as a symbol of the Catholic Church victorious over Protestantism and the Turkish threat. In Giordano’s version the brightly glowing colour and the powerfully thrusting fi gure of the angel underline the triumphal nature of the scene. The picture was originally intended for an altar, but it is not known for which church. It was painted c. 1663, and is part of a phase in Giordano’s output in which he was infl uenced by the Bolognese painter Guido Reni. His model was Reni’s altar panel dating from shortly before 1636 in the Capuchin church in Rome. Giordano was also aware, from engravings, of Raphael’s St. Michael (1518). Satan’s grotesque face was based on an etching by the Neapolitan Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652).