Jan 19, 2005

Bust of Prophet Hosea

Bust of Prophet Hosea

c. 1380–90

Silver, partially gilded, chased, cast, engraved

Overall: 20.2 x 19.5 x 13 cm (7 15/16 x 7 11/16 x 5 1/8 in.)


Did you know?

People made pilgrimages to visit important relic collections at churches.


A dramatic golden mustache contrasts against a silver face, adding a sense of liveliness to this representation of the Old Testament prophet Hosea. This is one of 14 busts that were part of Saint Paul Cathedral’s high altar decoration before its destruction in 1534 during the Anabaptist rebellion, a radical Christian reform movement. However, the group of sculptures survived this turmoil and were reinstalled during the 1600s. Old Testament prophets were often included in Christian decorative programs as they foretold the coming Messiah. In the cathedral these busts appeared alongside statuettes of the apostles, emphasizing divine authority. Today those statues are still part of the high altar.

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