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William Berczy

Preparatory Study for Saint Michael the Archangel

Artist

William Berczy
Wallerstein, Bavaria, 1744 – New York 1813

Artist (birthplace)

After Guido Reni (1575-1642)

Title

Preparatory Study for Saint Michael the Archangel

Date

1809

Materials

Ink wash heightened with watercolour, graphite squaring

Dimensions

43.2 x 33 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. Dr.1970.242

Collection

Graphic Arts

Berczy freely transposed a large composition by Guido Reni in the Saint Michael the Archangel he created for the church of Saint-Michel de Vaudreuil. Just as Reni gave Satan the face of one of his adversaries, Cardinal Giambattista Pamphilj, Berczy gave the Prince of Evil in the preparatory drawing an individual’s face (one who has not yet been identified). This figure is rendered less realistically than in the finished painting. The popularity of devotion to the Archangel Michael is denoted in a number of works in the Museum’s collection, including the 1837 version painted by Thomas-Henry Valin after Raphael for the chapel of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal (the Grey Nuns). Louis-Philippe Hébert also depicted this subject in two late nineteenth-century sculptures for the Montreal Sulpicians.

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