01 Work, RELIGIOUS ART – Interpretation the bible, Neapolitan master’s ARCHANGEL MICHAEL FIGHTING THE DEVILS OF THE UNDERWORLD, with Footnotes – 124

Neapolitan master of the 17th century

Oil on canvas.
94 x 70 cm.
Private collection

Extremely complicated composition, with figures moving in opposite directions. In the color and the reproduction of the physical, the strong influence of Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640) can be seen, with whom he had worked together at the festive decoration in Ghent. All these stylistic aspects suggest the attribution. So too, this painting is characterized by a turbulent concentration of bodies – here hellish figures – against which the youthfully heroically portrayed Saint Michael fights. His movement from top left to bottom right, corresponding to the light incidence in the picture. His outstretched right arm holding the flaming sword, the left the round shield. It is striking here that the male figure, which is at the top of a dragon, has almost portraited facial features, which gives reason to suppose that this is an allegory of the victory over a fallen opponent. The barb in the right hand of the fallen is an attribute of the Greek Hades, ruler of the underworld. More on this painting

ARCHANGEL MICHAEL, is an archangel in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions, he is called “Saint Michael the Archangel” and “Saint Michael”. In the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox traditions, he is called “Taxiarch Archangel Michael” or simply “Archangel Michael”.

Michael is mentioned three times in the Book of Daniel, once as a “great prince who stands up for the children of your people”. The idea that Michael was the advocate of the Jews became so prevalent that, in spite of the rabbinical prohibition against appealing to angels as intermediaries between God and his people, Michael came to occupy a certain place in the Jewish liturgy.

In the New Testament Michael leads God’s armies against Satan’s forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan. In the Epistle of Jude Michael is specifically referred to as “the archangel Michael”. Christian sanctuaries to Michael appeared in the 4th century, when he was first seen as a healing angel, and then over time as a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil. By the 6th century, devotions to Archangel Michael were widespread both in the Eastern and Western Churches. Over time, teachings on Michael began to vary among Christian denominations. More Archangel Michael

The 17th century sparked a golden age for art in Naples. It was a period of extraordinary achievement in painting characterized by a level of originality and quality that placed Naples at the centre of international artistic taste. An almost continuous quantity of remarkable artistic accomplishments in Naples at this time left an indelible imprint on the history of European art. Such artists as Artemisia Gentileschi, Francesco Solimena, Luca Giordano, Francesco Guarino, Mico Spadaro, Salvatore Rosa, Jusepe De Ribera and more. The paintings depict religious and secular subjects, still life, portraiture, and 17th century city life in Naples, including the ravages of rebellion and plague, and moments of great triumph. More on the Neapolitan masters

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Author: Zaidan Art Blog

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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