St Michael's Victory over the Devil is the 1958 bronze sculpture by Jacob Epstein which greets visitors approaching the New Cathedral from Priory Street. St Michael holds his spear upright, not pointing at his captor with aggression, or intention of revenge.
Epstein's last major commission (he died in August 1959), it represents a highly positive finale to a career which took off in 1915 with the horrifying vision of Rock Drill (above). Hugely influential ever since (especially to sci-fi movie makers), Epstein said of his sculpture "Here is the armed sinister figure of today and tomorrow. No humanity, only the terrible Frankenstein's monster we have made ourselves into."
Forty years later, in the ashes of Coventry Cathedral, Epstein saw that mankind did not have to follow this sinister path.
Jacob Epstein's Rock Drill was created in 1915. The original was destroyed by the artist. The image above shows a reproduction, on display at the Birmingham Art Gallery.