The Battle of the Archangel Michael with the Dragon by Albrecht Durer

The Battle of the Archangel Michael with the Dragon by Albrecht Durer

In the engraving “The Battle of the Archangel Michael with the Dragon” Albrecht Durer illustrates chapter 12 of the book “Revelation” of John the Theologian:

“And there was a war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought against them, but could not stand, and there was no place for them in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent, called the devil and Satan, deceiving the whole universe, cast into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. “

The artist portrayed the Archangel Michael at the moment when he struck with a spear in the mouth of the dragon. A long light spear is like lightning. The monster capsized on its back and now it will fall to the ground from a terrible height. The army of Archangel Michael with swords and arrows finishes the generation of darkness. Victory is not easy! A tremendous effort is felt in the hands of the archangel, violent sweeps of swords, tightly stretched bow – a terrible battle raging in the sky.

And under the black cloud, in which this battle is seething, the earth is again visible. The earth is a bright day. Calm and peaceful distance. This is no longer a small corner, it is a vast expanse – the embodiment of the world landscape: mountains, hills, trees, city. The landscape has to be described in almost the same words, as already mentioned about other landscapes of the “Apocalypse”, but this, in essence, is the same landscape. The same ships sail on the sea, the same trees stretch along the roads, the same city raises to the sky the spiers of towers.

Albrecht Durer finds a striking detail that best conveys the feeling of tranquility acquired by the earth. Before the bridge at the entrance to the city, the barrier was gently lifted: the danger no longer threatens the inhabitants. This is a subtle detail. She needs to be seen on the print. But how happy was Durer when he came up with such a detail! Open city gates, a raised gate, as eloquently says it about the world!

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