St. Michael the Archangel

16th or 17th century
Repainted polychrome; carved hair, glass eyes, no lashes. Approximately 3 feet tall (91 cm.).
Cuilapan, Oaxaca, Mexico

St. Michael can be identified by the sword, armor, helmet, and wing. He has a red knee-length tunic, green surcoat, and red military boots).

The gesso is unusually thin and has worn through at the toes to reveal the wood beneath. Two holes have been formed at the shoulder blades so that wings could be attached. These holes reveal the process of the original construction, with gessoed linen over wood. Paint has chipped off in the folds of the tunic between the legs, revealing the gold of the original polychrome.

The whole pattern of the polychrome of the left sleeve shows through the later repainting. The statue is in good condition, but the arms and clothing have been repainted and there have been several repairs. The right leg seems to have been reattached where the tunic begins. The remaining wing has been patched onto the right and a peg shows where the left wing broke off. The helmet and sword are recent.

Read more about St. Michael the Archangel.

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