Cartmel Priory: St Michael Sculpture


“Soul is form and doth the body make” St Michael, 1991

Located next to the choir screen at Cartmel Priory stands the sculpted figure of St Michael. The bronze sculpture depicts St Michael battling his way through the abstract jaws of the Dragon (beautiful “Lucifer son of the morning” – made hideous by hate and pride) and shows that what is seen of evil is not the worst.


St Michael is the work of the Brazilian born sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos and portrays “God’s Ariel” battling his way through unseen thoughts, feelings, vibes and powers. Josefina describes seeing courage and laughter marching together and the beauty in it to be reminiscent of some words in a prayer, “high hearted happiness.”


Daughter of a wealthy Brazilian diplomat, Josefina gained a scholarship to the Royal Academy in 1921. Following her marriage to the artist Delmar Banner, Josefina and her family settled in Little Langdale in the Lake District. Many of her commissions can be seen throughout Cumbria.


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