This panel of the Archangel Michael fighting the Devil was once part of an altarpiece painted by Crivelli for the church of San Domenico in Ascoli Piceno in the Italian Marche. Michael is shown as a youthful prince, his sword raised with nonchalant ease to strike the writhing devil beneath his feet. At once refined and ferocious, Michael’s pale aristocratic beauty and glittering armour make a vivid contrast to the scaly skin, furred legs and vicious talons of the demon below him.
Showing off his talent for foreshortening – distorting objects to make them appear to recede into the picture plane – Crivelli shows us the top of Michael’s and Satan’s heads, as they gaze at each other in eternal combat. He was also a master of three-dimensional effects. Here, the saint’s coronet and armour are modelled to stand out from the flat surface of the panel.