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St. Christopher

European Art

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St. Christopher

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Lorenzo Costa
Italian, ca. 1460–1535

Date

ca. 1480s

Medium

Tempera on panel

Accession #

58.41b

Dimensions

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

Location

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

Description

St. Christopher 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.

The staff and the Christ child on St. Christopher’s shoulders refer to a story in which he carried Christ across a river. These visual cues would have prompted travelers to pray to him for protection.

Credit

Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation