Saint Michael Archangel


Oil on poplar panel

134.5 x 59.5 cm

National Gallery, London

The Archangel Michael, commander of God’s celestial legions, drove Lucifer out of heaven. Here the saint stands victoriously over the demon’s dead body, holding the dismembered head, dripping with blood. Dressed all’antica, in the uniform of a Roman general, Piero re-envisioned the warrior’s armor inlaid with precious gemstones, alluding to Michael’s elevated status as a prince of the church. The archangel was a guardian of the town of Borgo San Sepolcro and the name saint of Angelo, the local patron who commissioned the Sant’Agostino altarpiece.