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Spinello Aretino, Saint Michael and Other Angels

Key facts
Full title Saint Michael and Other Angels
Artist Spinello Aretino
Artist dates born 1345-52; died 1410
Series Arezzo Fresco Fragments
Date made about 1408-10
Medium and support Fresco (with areas of secco) transferred to canvas
Dimensions 116.2 × 170.2 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Sir A.H. Layard, 1886
Inventory number NG1216.1
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Saint Michael and Other Angels
Spinello Aretino

This fragment comes from a large painting in fresco – a technique that involved painting directly onto wet plaster – that showed the fall of Lucifer, the rebel angel who was cast out of heaven. It once decorated a wall of the church of the confraternity of Sant' Angelo in Arezzo. There are two other fragments in our collection.

Here we see Saint Michael the Archangel, who was the central figure in the fresco. His large wings, halo and armour identify him: he was one of the warrior angels. He raises his arm, ready to strike with his sword; we can see its hilt in his hand. He is supported by several other angels, also dressed in elaborate armour and bearing shields and spears.

We know from a nineteenth-century engraving of the fresco that Saint Michael is battling a seven-headed dragon, which is how Lucifer is described in the New Testament (Revelation 12: 3).

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Arezzo Fresco Fragments


These three paintings are fragments of a much larger work in fresco, a technique that involved painting directly on to wet plaster. The whole image showed the fall of Lucifer, the rebel angel who was cast out of heaven and associated with the devil in Christian thought.

The fresco decorated a wall in the church of the confraternity of Sant'Angelo, Arezzo. Its original appearance is recorded in engravings and drawings made in the nineteenth century.

The large fragment shows Saint Michael the Archangel ready to strike Lucifer, while two smaller ones come from the border of the work and show a band of figures set within decorative shapes.These fragments were purchased in 1855 by the archaeologist and explorer Austen Henry Layard, and presented to the National Gallery in 1886. Layard was a founder of the Arundel Society, which aimed to document frescoes in Italian churches and palaces through drawings and art-historical descriptions.