The Plague as a Dragon on this 500th Anniversary of Raphael’s Death

On this 500th anniversary of his death on April 6 in 1520, Raphael’s image of St. Michael, the dragon-slayer.

Art historians mention a popular medieval text known as “The Golden Legend,” in which the plague is rendered as a dragon come for its annual human sacrifice. Raphael painted the triumphant scene of Michael the dragon-slayer overcoming the beast, to restore a sense of order and trust in the future that was difficult to find during the rampant illness.

Hear this week’s Storyteller’s Night Sky episode about Raphael and a clue to the architectural composition of his work on Interlochen Public Radio.