West Side Angel

Stood atop the Castel Sant’Angelo, the statue of St. Michael cuts an imposing figure on the skyline of Rome.

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This is unsurprising given the event it was created to represent

“during a prolonged season of the plague, Pope Gregory I heard that the populace, even Christians, had begun revering a pagan idol at the church of Santa Agata in Suburra. A vision urged the pope to lead a procession to the church. Upon arriving, the idol miraculously fell apart with a clap of thunder. Returning to St Peter’s by the Aelian Bridge, the pope had another vision of an angel atop the castle, wiping the blood from his sword on his mantle, and then sheathing it.”

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But this is not the first statue of St. Michael to stand there. The original created in 1536 by  Raffaello da Montelupo now stands in one of the courtyards and I absolutely love it.

rome-3Is that not the sassiest angel that you’ve ever seen? This angel is not here to destroy idols, this angel is here to party…. or least join one of the gangs in Wes Side Story.

If I’d not read about the legend behind the statue I never would have guessed what it was created to represent. There something about the stance and facial expression that makes me feel that it is more likely to break out into dance than bring down vengeance.

Joking aside, the amazing blue patina on the wings makes this one of the more colourful statues that I’ve seen and I would remember it just for that.

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