Raphael’s St. Michael

St. Michael, painted by Raphael in 1504 or 1505, is housed in the Louvre. Here are some omg facts about this Raphael painting that Keller beat Neal with:

Raphael painted the picture on the back of a draughtboard. I am not sure what game exactly. But whether it is chess or backgammon (or any other strategy game known in 1500 and representing the battle of two opposing armies) Neal plays it and has some memory connected to it.

Michael derives from the Hebrew question ‘Mi ke el?’ meaning ‘Who is like God?’ As the answer would be ‘No one.’ Archangel Michael is seen as a symbol of humility. Well, let’s say Neal isn’t. Michael is also known as intermediary angel, healer, protector and leader of the army of God against the forces of evil. I have a thought for this, but it is still cookie dough and still needs to bake before it is ready for the world.

The background of the painting suggests that Raphael studies illustrations to Dante’s Inferno before outlining the image. The 8th Circle of Hell punishes those whose sins involved conscious fraud or treachery. Thieves are pursued and bitten by snakes those poison destroys the humanity or inner core of the bitten. Hypocrites have to walk around in gilded lead coats that weigh down on them and make progress impossible. Other than that Dante is quoted a couple of times (e.g. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.) it’s amazing that a guy convicted of fraud and accused of theft is fascinated by a picture depicting the punishment of thieves.

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