Christoph Anton Mayr, St. Michael Protecting the Christians Against the Pagans of Naples

1760
Vault fresco
St. Michael's Parish Church, San Candido / Innichen, Italy

The title is provided by a guide book at the church, but the fresco presents much more than the victory over the pagan attackers, who are retreating on the right from the archangel's lightning bolts. That episode and the fresco as a whole follow the narrative in a late 7th / early 8th century work, The Book Concerning the Apparition of St. Michael on Mount Gargano.

The story begins when a farmer (kneeling, center) tries to shoot a bull that had left the herd and taken shelter in the mouth of a cave on Mount Gargano. His arrow turns back and strikes him instead. On the left, the local people ask their bishop what all this could mean, and he prays for an answer. Michael then appears to him (above, center) and explains that he is the guardian of that cave. Later the people find that Michael has built an entire church (right) that is reached from an entrance to the cave.

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Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.