Painting of the month

St. Michael triumphs over the devil- Bartolome Bermejo 1468 Room 63 at the National gallery


What a startling vision this painting must have appeared to the church goers of the church of San Miguel in the town of Tous near Valencia. For Bermejo has mastered the new Flemish technique of painting with oil. How he relishes capturing the variety of surfaces and textures from the burnished armour of St Michael to his billowing scarlet and gold cloak and his crystal shield. The paint also allows him to capture detail in a way that had never been seen before including the finely modelled features of the donor Antonio Juan, Lord of Tous. But it is the composition that captures the eye as much as the surface detail.The dynamic crescent shape figure of St. Michael seems to float above the orange eyed scaly devil that writhes below at his feet. Despite the up-raised sword of St. Michael his face suggests calm serenity and other worldliness as befits the highest of angels.

Below is my attempt at capturing the wonderful figure of St. Michael. I certainly enjoyed the challenge of attempting this figure.



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