The Archangel Michael is one of the most recognizable figures in all of Christianity – The angel, adorned in resplendent armor, bringing Satan to heel. Translated, his name means Who is like God?. In Catholicism he is typically regarded as a prince among the angels and leader of the war host the expelled Satan and the rebellious angels from Heaven. Likewise in Eastern Orthodox he is called Archistrategos, the Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts. In the Old Testament he is an outspoken advocate of Israel and is its protector.
The lasting image of St. Michael as a warrior was cemented when Emperor Constantine defeated Emperor Licinius at Adrianople during the conflicts of Romes Tetrarchy Emperors. The victory was in the vicinity of the church sanctuary Michaelion. Constantine believed that Licinius was taken by the Satan, and in defeating him associated himself with imagery of Michael slaying the serpent-form Satan. He commissioned a painting of him and his sons slaying Licinius the Serpent to be within the Michaelion. A similar contemporary painting depicted Michael killing the serpent and this depiction permanently framed the image of Michael as the serpent-slayer.
With this high-profile influence, most following paintings and statues would carry elements of this theme. Michael is often outfitted in the immaculate armor of an Eastern Roman Empire commander and has Satan (either himself or represented as a serpent) pinned down.
This statue of St. Michael is a three-dimensional depiction of Guido Renis 1636 Michael in Santa Maria della Concezione, Rome. St. Peters Basilica has an altar mosaic copy of this painting. This cast resin statue is finished in metallic bronze to impart the appearance of a solid bronze statuette.
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