St. Julian


Lorenzo Costa


ca. 1480s


Tempera on panel


14 7/8 x 5 1/2 inches (FRAMED IN PAIRS)


Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Accession #

58.38 a

On View

On View - Stent Family Wing, Level 2, Gallery 204

St. Julian the Hospitaller is one of eight saints Lorenzo Costa painted in the late 1400s. The graceful figures originally flanked a central devotional image on a monumental altarpiece, likely in or near Bologna, Italy. The saints are identifiable by their attributes and by their names, which are inscribed underneath them in a northern Italian dialect. Devotees used this information to find the saints who were most relevant to their personal needs. St. Julian the Hospitaller holds a dagger, referring to the prophecy that he would kill his parents. He tried to avoid the prophecy, but it became true, and he built a hospital in an effort to repent. He is the patron saint of hospital workers, innkeepers, and travelers.