Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine
1454–69
Oil and tempera on poplar panel
53 1/3 x 26 1/6 in. (135.5 x 66.5 cm)
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon

Born in North Africa in the fourth century a.d., Augustine converted to Christianity, rising to the office of bishop. He was an industrious scholar, and his meditations on the faith inspired followers who celebrated him as the founder of the Augustinian order. The saint is dressed here in a bishop’s ceremonial attire as if in perpetual visitation of his churches. Crowned with a jeweled miter and holding a transparent crystal staff, or crozier, he wears a cope richly embroidered with scenes from the life of Christ. A clasp, or morse, joins them together and closes this Passion cycle with the Resurrection.