A Bishop Saint with a Donor (Saint Louis of Toulouse?)

A Bishop Saint with a Donor (Saint Louis of Toulouse?)

early 1400s

Tempera with raised and gilded gesso on wood

Framed: 191.4 x 127.3 x 14 cm (75 3/8 x 50 1/8 x 5 1/2 in.); Painted surface: 171.5 x 107 cm (67 1/2 x 42 1/8 in.); Panel: 178 x 117.2 cm (70 1/16 x 46 1/8 in.)

Gift of the Friends of The Cleveland Museum of Art 1927.197

Description

The style of this painting suggests that it comes from Catalonia in northeastern Spain, though the identity of its artist remains unknown. The painting represents a youthful bishop-saint identifiable by a bishop’s symbols of authority, his miter and crozier. He wears rich vestments. Below, the figure in black represents the donor of the painting—likely a wealthy layperson rather than a cleric. The identity of the saintly bishop is speculated to be Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, on the basis of his youth. Louis was consecrated Bishop of Toulouse in 1297, died six months later at the age of 23, and was canonized in 1317. His relics were moved in 1423 to Valencia and his cult flourished in Spain.

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