Saint Christopher

Follower of Jan van Eyck, Netherlandish (active Bruges), c. 1395 - 1441

Geography:
Made in Netherlands (historical name, 15th-16th century), Europe

Date:
c. 1440-1450

Medium:
Oil on panel

Dimensions:
11 5/8 x 8 5/16 inches (29.5 x 21.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 217, European Art 1100-1500, second floor

Accession Number:
Cat. 342

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Saint Christopher, long a popular patron saint of travelers, was a giant who transported people across a river on his back. One night he carried the infant Christ across the river, remarking on the great weight of so small a passenger. The child, in fact, was holding a crystal orb and thereby was bearing the weight of the world. This legend accounts for the saint's name, Christopher, which means "Christ-bearer" in Greek.

The small scale and jewel-like rendition of details in this painting tie it closely to the school of painting founded by Jan van Eyck.


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