September 29, 2017
Anonymous-Spanish Colonial, Saint Michael the Archangel, 18th century, oil on canvas, 72 1/2 x 46 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Marguerite R. Powell, 1973.
Today is Michaelmas, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels, a festival celebrated in many Christian traditions. It honors Michael, the archangel who led the celestial forces that vanquished Satan and overcame evil (Revelation 12:7-9), and pays homage to other angels recounted in Christian tradition.
This painting of Saint Michael was likely created by an artist in Mexico during the Spanish Colonial era and celebrates the archangel’s role as protector of righteousness. Michael holds a staff with banner that reads “Quis et Deus,”meaning “Who like God.” His armored breastplate, plumed helmet, tall boots, and androgynous features were common types used in portraying Michael during this time period.