Saint Michele Arcangelo

The pala of Saint Michele Arcangelo with Saints Jerome and Augustine by Palma il Giovane (1607)

This canvas is noted for its harmony and balance of composition, for the movement instilled in its three figures and for the effective uses of relief and chromatic effects which exemplify a particularly positive phase in the life of the Venetian painter, nephew of the celebrate Palma il Vecchio. The scene is dominated in the centre by the figure of the Archangel triumphing over a demon, holding in his hands a sword and scales emphasising the importance of his mission, that as defender of Justice.
The uninhibited attitude of the body, of classical beauty, is an example of divine beauty and perfection. The painters appears sensitive to the languages of mystery and lighting in the way of Tintoretto, both in the construction and dynamism of the bodies of St Gerolamo and St Agostino and in the use backgrounds and skies almost dismal and crepuscular, opened in places by tears through which light is used to exalt the apparition of the Holy Trinity in all its glory at the apex of the piece.
This canvas, signed by Palma in 1608 brings to life the language of light of Tintoretto yet at the same time the artists seems also to hint at traits of Paolo Veneziano through use of intense chromatic effects of the figures and in explicit decorative effects in the clothing thereof.


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