The latest addition in our product focus series features a timeless and classic painting by Luca Giordano and his portrait of St.Michael. This piece by Giordano depicts the story of the Archangel Michael's victory over Satan and the renegade angels, as told in the Book of Revelation.
Did You Know? St. Michael repeatedly appears in apocryphal literature and was regarded by the early Church as the captain of the heavenly host, the protector of Christians against the devil, and the leader of Christian armies against the heathen.
ABOUT THE PAINTING
As a Christian knight, St Michael was perceived as a triumphant symbol of the Catholic Church. In Giordano's version, the brightly glowing colour and powerfully thrusting figure of St Michael demonstrate the triumphal nature of the scene.
St. Michael, alongside the other Archangels Gabriel and Raphael, is one of only three angels liturgically venerated by the Church. He appears twice in the Old Testament as a helper to the early Christian peoples. He also appears twice in the New Testament, once first arguing Satan over Moses' body, and again when he and his angels fought Satan and his dragons and hurled him and his followers from heaven.
Did You Know? The picture was initially intended for an altar, but it is not known for which Church specifically. It was painted c.1663 and is part of a phase in Giordano's output in which he was influenced heavily by the Bolognese painter Guido Reni. His model was based on Reni's altar panel dating from shortly before 1636 in the Capuchin church in Rome.
As shown in the image, the painting relies heavily on the dramatic use of shadows and a moody sense of colouration. The picture is both beautiful and unsettling at the same time as, despite the heroic visitation of Michael, the overall image is somewhat horrific, capturing the defeat of Satan and the renegade angels. Within our pocket square, you will notice we have slightly cropped the image to focus mainly on the angelic symbol of St. Michael in triumph.
The triumphant Michael is perhaps somewhat feminine to the contemporary eye, but the manly torso and powerful legs indicate the strength of a warrior of Christ. The golden tresses of the angel, along with the girlish face, perhaps still owe something to the High Renaissance era, as do the draping of his pinkish cape behind him.
The background has a mysterious quality, with a dark mood created between the red and brown mists. You will note further frightful details within the base of the painting, such as the serpent wrapped around one unfortunate’s arm, a howling beast and the foot of a plummeting body. This creates a sense of Giordano’s vision of hell, a truly fearsome creation.
THE FALL OF THE REBEL ANGELS
A few years later (c. 1666), Giordano updated the painting that mirrors that of classical iconography, showing St. Michael spread wings alongside a sword, a heavenly dress and a red cape, intent on expelling the demons that came from the underworld on the earth.
While this painting is a follow up from the original featured here, there are some key differences to note. In this version, St. Michael is portrayed holding a sword instead of a lance and his head is covered with a helmet. We also offer this beautiful painting as part of our silk pocket square collection.
Luca Giordano was born in Naples in 1634 and was the son of the painter Antonio Giordano. Following an apprenticeship to José de Ribera, who heavily influenced his early works, Giordano studied in Rome, Parma and Venice, where he developed his Baroque style fusing both Venetian and Roman influences.
He mainly studied under Pietro da Cortona, whose complex schemes greatly impacted his style and work. He combined this influence with the classical stylings of Paul Veronese, who was also known for his rich and lively use of colour. Giordano was an incredibly active painter, prolific until the end of his life, and is currently credited with over 2000 paintings.
Between 1682 and 1683, he painted various fresco series in Florence. In particular, his paintings within the gallery of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi gained him great exposure. They depicted scenes such as The Creation of Man (1684-84) and The Triumph of the Medici in the Clouds of Mount Olympus (1684-86).
Later on in his career, and at the invitation of Charles II of Spain, Giordano spent a decade at his court, where he painted a series of major decorative scenes. One of which, The Allegory of the Golden Fleece, was painted in the Buen Retiro palace that is now an annex of the Prado Museum in Spain.
After Charles II's death in 1702, Giordano returned home to Naples, where he continued to paint prolifically in a lighter style until his death in 1705.
THREE WAYS TO FOLD THIS POCKET SQUARE
This pocket square is rich in pastel colours and a dark backdrop, making it versatile with many traditional tailoring jackets. The baroque border is classic in pattern, and the correct fold can create a beautiful shape to accentuate any outfit.
Ensuring you know how to correctly fold your pocket square will enable you to be creative and playful with your pocket square fold type. We discuss three common fold styles in more detail to use below.
The Two Point Fold also known as the Two Peaks Fold, is a type of fold that could be described as a classic fold. Still relatively conservative, it works well for more formal events or in the corporate world.
Using this fold with a single coloured pocket square will add a little more interest to your jacket. However, this fold will really impact if you have a border pattern, such as the St. Michael pocket square. The baroque artwork will have a nice contrast with different tones between the two peaks, as shown below.
Read Further: The Two Point Fold
The Wave Fold
The wave pocket square fold is a stylish fold that gives an exquisite final flourish to your outfit for the evening.
It is not the simplest of folds to create, however, if you follow the instructions in our easy to follow guide, with a little bit of practice (and perhaps a few false starts) it can actually be mastered pretty quickly and is always a good fold to make a sartorial statement.
Read Further: The Wave Fold
The Puff Fold is not only one of the most popular folds but also one of the simplest to master. The most classic style is to adjust it till it forms a semi-circle above your pocket, but the very nature of the Puff Fold means you can be creative with the final look.
We feel it works best for a more casual look, and can be easily adjusted to display the different colours in your pocket square.
Read Further: The Puff Fold
These are only three options when it comes to how to fold your pocket square. Head over to our YouTube channel which has many videos on styling, product insights and our new series on how to fold your pocket square. In below video, Alex explores the crown fold in more detail.
Watch Further: YouTube Fold Video Series