Saint Michael, the warrior archangel of Heaven, is portrayed battling the devil in the guise of a dragon. Swiveling to spear the serpentine foe, the saint is clad in a suit of mail covered by a cuirass of plate armor. The tip of his now-broken weapon remains visible in the dragon's gaping mouth. The dragon fights back by curling his tentacle-like tail around St. Michael's leg reflecting medieval belief that dragons kill their prey by squeezing them to death. This highly accomplished sculpture, with its exquisite detail, fine modeling, and adroitly twisting pose, may well have been a noble commission.
Émile Molinier, Paris; Georges Hoentschel (French, Paris 1855–1915 Paris); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Vitry, Paul. "Les collections Pierpont Morgan." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 4th ser., 11, no. 5 (May 1914). p. 435, ill. p. 434.
Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1925. pp. 83, 130, fig. 46, ill. p. 85.
Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. pp. 83, 130, fig. 46, ill. p. 85.
Wixom, William D. "Late Medieval Sculpture in the Metropolitan: 1400 to 1530." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 64, no. 4 (Spring 2007). p. 34.
Brennan, Christine E. "Hoentschel's Gothic Importance." In Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Daniëlle O. Kisluk-Grosheide, Ulrich Leben, and Deborah L. Krohn. New York: Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, 2013. p. 144.
Artist: Attributed to Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, active in France, ca. 1380–1439, active Burgundy, 1396–ca. 1439)Date: ca. 1415–17Medium: Limestone with paint and gildingAccession: 33.23On view in:Gallery 305