In the Apocalypse of Saint John (Book of Revelation), the Archangel Michael, having overcome the rebel angels, slays the dragon, an allegorical embodiment of evil, and casts it to earth. In
this depiction, Raphael enriched the scene's traditional representation with ancillary scenes inspired by the Inferno in the Divine Comedy, in which Dante recounts the punishment of hypocrites
With the grace of a ballet dancer, the youthful Saint Michael pirouettes with raised sword as he tramples the horrific beast underfoot in a bleak landscape with the silhouette of a burning city in the distance. The influence of Leonardo - whose fighting warriors from the Battle of Anghiari provided an extraordinary example of martial art (the painting deteriorated very rapidly because of shortcomings in Leonardo's experimental technique and so is no longer visible) - predominates in these works. But references to Flemish painting suggest the environment of Urbino, where Northern influences were still quite vivid.