Arms of St. Michael

So, what coat of arms does St. Michael bear? When he’s dressed as a knight, he has the chance to display arms on his shield, and perhaps also on his breastplate. Sometimes he holds a banner, although this does not necessarily display his personal arms.

Unfortunately, at this point, no clear patterns have emerged. Here are some rough groupings:

1. “Michael” means “Who is like God?” with the implied answer, “No one.” Thus, St. Michael can bear a shield bearing a Latin form of his name as a motto: Quis ut Deus?

José Raphael Aragon (1796–1862), Saint Michael (San Miguel), c. 1840

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2. As a Christian warrior, it is only natural for Michael to bear a cruciform shield.

2a. Oftentimes, this shield is simply St. George’s red cross on white.

Altarpiece of St Michael-Gerard DAVID [Netherlandish Northern Renaissance Painter, ca.1460-1523] Sienese14cent

2b. Red and gold are also seen.

Horae ad usum Parisiensem , dites Heures de Charles VIII 1475-1500

2c. Also gold on gold!

CodS384 BrusselsBroodhuisMuseum

2d. Sometimes charges appear in the quarters.

quarters Saint Michael, 1450–1500, Master of Belmonte; the saint symbolises Christ triumphant over evil and the demon, the Antichrist. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

2e. A Russian Michael bears a Russian cross:

Russian1919

3. Several shields aren’t heraldic at all, but are simply blank and/or decorative and/or functional.

c85c66698751ec3f7a452c8d77a45641 Francisco de Zurbarán and Studio - The Archangel Michael

4. Many shields feature rays of light or flames.

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Latin 1171, f. 71r. Book of Hours, use of Rome. 16th century

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5. A couple of shields bear an escarbuncle, which is a charge derived from the way a shield is constructed.

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LluísBorrassàRetauledesantMiquel1416-1417

6. St. Michael occasionally bears a shield of one of his votaries – in this case, the king of France.

France

saint michel terrassant le dragon The Fouquet missal , Beinecke MS 425 , f. 305v, c. 1450 - 1475,

7. I found one that seems to be covered in feathers, like Michael’s wings.

St. Michael and the Devil. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Latin 1156B, detail of f. 165r. Book of Hours, use of Rome (15th century)

So as you can see, unlike with St. George, who is almost universally identified with Argent, a cross Gules, artists of St. Michael could get quite creative with his coat of arms. If this has any meaning, I assume that it’s because St. Michael is even more heavenly than your average warrior saint, and not constrained by any heraldic rules.