Making St. Michael

St. Michael has always been my favorite saint. He's the immortal badass, Right Hand of God. As awesome as he is supposed to be, I've often felt underwhelmed when looking at a lot of the paintings depicting him. He's typically bordering on the androgynous, very lightly armored, and not what I would picture when thinking of an angel that tossed Lucifer from Heaven. More importantly, you don't see very many recent paintings of this saint. I've always wondered what he might look like through more modern eyes.

The Armor Checklist!
-It can look badass, but needs to remain elegant
-It needs to look elegant without being feminine
-The armor should look somewhat intimidating, but not scary or evil
-The filigree and designs should be intricate without being overly busy
-The overall visual should be a more modern look, but not overly angular or robotic

The Symbolism Checklist!
- Visages of a human, lion, ox, and eagle (Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
- The Eucharist housed in his chestplate
- Some sort of military rank indicator ("and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host")
- A thurible with burning incense (symbolizes the prayers of the faithful that Michael carries to Heaven)
- Some sort of scale (weighing of souls)

I was originally going to make his armor a gleaming ivory white, with black pants and under armor. Just for kicks, I had fooled around with the color, and found that black armor looked pretty badass (big surprise). However, St. Michael is supposed to be the Champion of Light; I wasn't sure if I could get away with suiting him up in black. Even so, I wasn't completely sold on white, so I looked at some more reference paintings. Much to my surprise, I found that around the 1400-1500s, St. Michael is pictured with black, gleaming armor in multiple paintings of that time period. I like the contrast that it creates between the dark armor and his light skin tone and wings, so I'm gonna give it a shot. In addition to the contrast, this also opens him up to some killer specular and gloss maps that white cannot match.

So off we go.  Let's see where this work in progress takes me...
Michael the Archangel WIP

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