The Christian tradition teaches that angels are bodiless spiritual beings created by God who often serve as messengers between God and humankind. As such, they are portrayed in Byzantine iconography in the robes of the Byzantine court. When St. Michael is painted in company with the other archangels or saints, he is depicted in this manner.
However, there is another tradition associated with the Archangel Michael — that of the leader of God’s heavenly host of angels, engaged in battle against the forces of evil. As a warrior, St. Michael is painted in the garb of the Roman soldier, usually in armor of metal and leather, with a red cloak.
The prayer of the Church reflects the warrior role of this great Archangel: “Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
On a technical note, the Archangel Michael, Warrior icon is the beginning project that most focuses on graphics—the linework and stroke work that can make or break an icon. Of all the painting skills utilized in the development of the icon, the final line work is considered by many to be the most important. Good graphics can compensate for a myriad of other small mistakes as a student strives to develop technical skills. Our special focus in this class will be to build improved dexterity in handling our brushes as we perform the tasks of lines and strokes that will build this image into the great warrior of God.
Note: For more details about teaching beginning painters online, please read our previous post
Teaching Beginners to Paint Online. To register for the St. Michael icon class, use this form. For more information, go to the Classes page.