oil on canvas
Gift of Gerry S. Culpepper
© Phoenix Art Museum. All rights reserved. Photo by Mike Lundgren.
This painting displays Saint Michael in standard guise: outspread wings, body armor, and a shield bearing the Latin inscription Quis Sic Ut Deus, or He Who is Like God. However, instead of his typical sword, he carries a palm branch in his left hand, used in Christian art as a symbol of victory, triumph, peace and eternal life. In this depiction of this common subject, the figures’ expressions are unconventional. Saint Michael looks down benevolently at Satan, who gazes up at him in submission with hands crossed over his chest. It seems this artist chose to portray a devil who, once vanquished, pledges allegiance to Saint Michael and his God.