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Friday, November 01, 2013

All Saints Day

November 1st is All Saints Day, so it seemed a good time to showcase a few of the "saintly" objects in the Rosenbach collection.

According to legend, St. Barbara was confined in a tower by her father, a wealthy pagan. While her father was away, Barbara had a bathhouse he had commissioned built with three windows to symbolize the Trinity. Upon learning that she was a Christian, her father denounced her to authorities and ultimately beheaded her himself. St. Barbara is traditionally depicted with her tower.

 St. Barbara. Lindenwood, polychrome. Mecheln, Belgium, ca. 1500. 1954.1989. Rosenbach Museum & Library

St. Peter Martyr, or St. Peter of Verona was a Dominican friar (as can be seen from his black and white garb in this miniature). He preached against heresy and in 1252 he was murdered by a Cathar assassin, who attacked him in the head with an axe and then stabbed him in the heart with a sword.  Peter's last act was to write "Credo in Deum" in his own blood. He was canonized in 1253, less than a year after his death.

Unknown artist, St. Peter the Marty. Oil on copper. 1954.630.180. Rosenbach Museum & Library
If you've taken a house tour at the Rosenbach you may recognize this statue of St. Michael, which now lives on the third floor outside the reading room. In the book of Revelation, Michael, one of the archangels, leads the army of angels that cast Satan (described as "the dragon") and his fallen angels out of heaven.

Unknown artist, St. Michael. Limewood. Southern Germany or Austria. ca. 1500-1520. 1954.1963. Rosenbach Museum & Library.

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library.

1 comment:

EEF said...

What I like most about Saint Michael is his expression of boredom--he's done this so often it's automatic. "Another day, another demon ..."