Saint Michael the Archangel

Andrea della Robbia Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 500

The Archangel holds a sword, signifying his leadership of the holy army and defeat of Satan, and scales, used to weigh the souls of the deceased to determine their fate. The artist’s expressive rendering of four faces (including that of the blessed soul and two masks decorating the armor) crescendos to Saint Michael’s peaceful countenance radiating compassion. A restrained palette of blue and white highlights the refined modeling and was favored especially by Andrea’s uncle, Luca della Robbia, who invented this technique of glazing earthenware. This relief was made to decorate the facade of a church in Faenza consecrated to Saint Michael. The divine figure’s appeal to the viewer, who would have passed beneath it to enter the place of worship, is enhanced by its extension in front of the classical egg-and-dart molding.

In 2008 the relief was damaged in a fall. Its subsequent restoration shed light on how the sculpture, originally composed of twelve interlocking sections, was made.

Saint Michael the Archangel, Andrea della Robbia (Italian, 1435–1525), Glazed terracotta, Italian, Florence

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.