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Saint Christopher

Painting, 1490-th , 113×71.5 cm

Description of the artwork «Saint Christopher»

Museum Boymans van Benningen in Rotterdam has several originals of Bosch, including a thumbnail image grotesque individuals, two witches, the nest of owlsand carrying the cross a small fragment of an unknown work with the image of a female profile as well as paintings "The prodigal son"and "Saint Christopher".

It is known that in the nineteenth century, "St. Christopher" was in a private collection in Italy, in 1931, found in the hands of the art dealer Paul Cassirer, and later in the collection of banker and art collector Franz Koenigs, which is about 1939, the year went bankrupt and was forced to sell his collection, which included a painting by Bosch, Daniel George van Beuningen, the owner of a Museum in Rotterdam.

Christian legend in the heart of the picture

The life of Christopher was known to Bosch's "Golden legend" of James Virginskaja, during the life of Hieronymus Bosch, translated into Dutch. It is reported that a giant named Reprobus (from the Latin Reprobus condemned, rejected, bad) has long been in search of a host. He wanted his master was the strongest and most powerful, so he first served the Emperor, but found out that there is someone stronger who is afraid of even the Emperor, the devil. Then Reprobus entered the service of Satan. But soon learned that the devil is not the strongest in the world because she's afraid of the Holy cross. And Christopher decided to serve Christ. But how to do it? The giant found the hermit a Christian, that explained how he could become a servant of Christ. The hermit led to the beginning of Reprobus to the river, where was a dangerous Ford. He explained: there is a giant, thanks to his height, can be useful to people. Reprobus not afraid of work, because he was very strong. But once he was asked to move across the river to the little boy. On motion, the child became heavier and heavier, and in the middle of the river they Reprobus nearly drowned. So the giant learned that endured through the Ford of the infant Christ, who took upon himself all the sins and burdens of the world. The Savior baptized Reprobus and called his name "Christopher" means "bearing Christ". In the late middle Ages Christopher was extremely popular and beloved saints. He was considered as a protector in times of epidemics. The relics of the Saint was long preserved in the Spanish city of Toledo, and was later peresini to the Abbey of Saint-Denis in France. It is also considered the patron of ferries, bridges and navigators.

Especially interpretation Bosch

30 years before Bosch (around 1468-69-m years) St. Christopher is already portrayed another Dutch painter Dirk Bouts. However, Bosch offers his vision of the story and contributes its peculiar motives. Some of them can be decrypted relatively easy, others more difficult. The fish hanging on the stick Christopher, is a traditional symbol of Christianity (the Greek word "ichthys" (fish) is an anagram of the name of Christ). She is opposed to the symbol of sin – the pig pulled the rope over the pitcher. The broken jug attached to the tree and turned into a tavern. The higher the man climbs up on the trunk to the bee hive in the Netherlands beehive was a symbol of drunkenness. A finely painted idyllic landscape darkens the glow of a distant fire and a naked bather on the shore, fleeing in panic from what they saw in the water monster. All of this can be interpreted as signs of a hostile and sinful world. But, unlike other works of Bosch, in "Saint Christopher" symbols of salvation outweigh all the evil and terrible: the Christ child is a reliable protection for the one who carries him on the back and near the small figure of the hermit depicts a dog – symbol of fidelity.

Author: Anna Yesterday
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Northern Renaissance

Technique: Oil

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: 1490-th

Size: 113×71.5 cm

Artwork in selections: 11 selections

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