Tempera on panel
14 7/8 x 5 1/2 inches (FRAMED IN PAIRS)
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation
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.