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The Fall of the Rebel Angels

This subject derives from the New Testament (Revelations 12:9). Ricci captures the moment that the ‘great dragon’, Satan, and his angels ‘were cast out onto the earth’. The Archangel Michael appears heroic, dressed in armour with flowing drapery and wings outstretched. His shield radiates with golden light, which appears to repel the angels beneath him. Their tangled, writhing bodies contrast with the archangel’s composed and graceful figure.  

An internationally celebrated artist in his lifetime, Ricci was held in high esteem by artistic contemporaries and patrons alike. This confident painting is typical of his later work produced in his studio in Venice.  

Currently on display

Artist
Sebastiano Ricci
Date
c. 1717–18
Location
Gallery 2
Dimensions
82 x 68 cm
Materials
Oil on canvas
Acquisition
Bourgeois Bequest, 1811
Accession number
DPG134
Notes
Adopted by Miss Edith Callam, 1996