Saints Michael and Francis

Artist: Juan de Flandes (Netherlandish, active by 1496–died 1519 Palencia)

Date: ca. 1505–9

Medium: Oil on wood, gold ground

Dimensions: Overall, with added strips at right and bottom, 36 7/8 x 34 1/4 in. (93.7 x 87 cm); painted surface 35 3/8 x 32 3/4 in. (89.9 x 83.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Mary Wetmore Shively Bequest, in memory of her husband, Henry L. Shively, M.D., 1958

Accession Number: 58.132


This panel was originally part of a large Spanish altarpiece. The artist has placed both figures within niches, but in contrast to the frontal, ascetic image of Saint Francis, who is neatly contained within the shallow space, Michael extends beyond his niche. Stabbing the dragon at his feet, the archangel gazes earthward at the apocalyptic vision—a walled, smoking city—that is reflected in his decorative shield. This latter detail still hints at Juan de Flandes’s Netherlandish origin. The introduction of a gold background and the broad painting technique, however, reveal his efforts to adapt his style to Spanish taste.