St. Michael Archangel
Stefano da Putignano
Archangel , Saint Michael , San Michele , Angel , Dragon
Stefano da Putignano's sculpture of St. Michael, created in 1538, is his last known work. The sculpture was moved to its present location, in a 17th-century altar decorated with paintings of the saint, after the chapel of St. Michael was destroyed in the 16th-century (possibly damaging the statue in the process, though accounts conflict). The sculpture was not painted until over a century later in 1641, possibly because Stefano died before he could oversee the completion of the work. Unlike Stefano's sculpture of St. Michael in the cave church of Monte Laureto in Putignano, in which the saint appears less immediately occupied with his task at hand, this sculpture shows St. Michael in the very moment of striking down upon the dragon. His arms, which come out and away from the body, indicate that he has engaged the muscles in his body. The ample drapery, swept back and off his shoulders, captures a sense of his swift movement. Such changes to sculptural form are demonstrative of the maturity of style that defined the end of Putignano's career. In this late work Stefano also seems to imitate the caryatides of the Nuzzo Barbo tomb in Conversano. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.