501 Treasures of Byzantium: No. 53 Icon of the Archangel Michael, Constantinople, 12th century, Basilica di San Marco Treasury, Venice, Italy.

Saint Michael is considered arguably the greatest of the archangel warriors and in turn was greatly revered throughout the Byzantine empire, especially in Constantinople. In Constantinople, for example, emperors including Justinian, built and dedicated churches to the archangel Michael, moreover his apse mosaics once bedazzled church-goers, and his heavenly likeness was crafted onto precious icon panels.

That said, there are two amazing surviving examples from Constantinople of archangel Michael from the treasury of San Marco that take my breath away. The first is a panel with a half figure of archangel Michael (which I will featured next time) and the second is this full length silver-gilt and enamel icon featured above.

He stands in front of a richly decorated enamel background, representing the garden of paradise, as a military saint holding an orb in his left hand and a sword in his right. His magnificence wings and imperial dress stand out without a doubt as my favorite features on the panel.