Friday, September 27, 2013

How to Identify a Saint

This is part of a bas-relief sculpture on one of the stone columns flanking the east wall of the St.Peter and St. Paul church in Toulongergues. It's difficult to photograph for two reasons: one, it wraps around the column. Secondly, the column itself has been damaged. I find it intriguing nonetheless. On the friends of the church website, there is an explanation of how the figure depicted here was identified. Major points: the figure is dressed in a tunic with a large belt, it is a balding man with a moustache and a beard that hangs in points, and it has a large, prominent nose. The art historian then took these identifying characteristics and compared them with the known figures in art of the same general time frame. And the answer to the 'who is this figure' question? St. Paul!

Here is a photo of St. Paul painted in the 1500's for comparison:
(Photo from Creative Commons--public domain in EU)

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