St. Michael

Luca Giordanoaround 1663

Gemäldegalerie, National Museums in Berlin

Gemäldegalerie, National Museums in Berlin

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).

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  • Title: St. Michael
  • Creator: Luca Giordano
  • Date Created: around 1663
  • Physical Dimensions: w147.0 x h198.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Style: Italian
  • Copyright Text: Text: © http://www.prestel.com, Prestel Verlag / Kathrin Höltge // Photo: © http://www.bpk-images.de, b p k - Photo Agency / Kaiser Friedrich-Museums-Verein / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Kaiser Friedrich-Museums-Verein
  • Artist information: Luca Giordano was a painter and printmaker in etching in the late Baroque. He studied under Pietro da Cortona, whose complex schemes had a great impact on his style. He combined this influence with the ornamental pomp of Paul Veronese and was also known for his rich and lively colour. Between 1682 and 1683 he painted various fresco series in Florence; his paintings in the gallery of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi gained him great celebrity and depicted such scenes as the creation of man (1684-84) or the triumph of the Medici in the clouds of Mount Olympus (1684-86). He was later invited to the Spanish court by Charles II. He was held in high esteem during this period of his career, created various works all over the country and became a wealthy man. After the death of Charles II he returned to Naples.
  • Artist Place of Death: Naples, Italy
  • Artist Place of Birth: Naples, Italy
  • Artist Gender: male
  • Artist Dates: 1634-10-18/1705-01-03


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