Saints in Art: 03 – The Apostles

The most ancient representations of the apostles, like those of the Evangelists, consist of symbols only; and these, in the most direct manner possible, express the thought that the disciples of Christ were, at first, the sheep over whom he, as a Shepherd, watched; and later, they, in their turn, became the shepherds who cared for those who were converted by the gospel which they were commanded to preach “to all nations”. In the most ancient representations of the apostles, in mosaics and pictures, Christ, as the Lamb of God, crowned with a nimbus, is raised on an eminence in the centre of the picture, while the apostles are symbolised by twelve other lambs, ranged on each side the central figure. The four rivers of Paradise flow from the eminence on which the symbol of Christ is placed, such rivers as Saint John – described in Revelation, – “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of the Lamb of God;” or such as Dante saw in the empyrean.

…”I look’d
And, in the likeness of a river, saw
Light flowing, from whose amber-seeming waves
Flash’d up effulgence, as they glided on
‘Twixt banks, on either side, painted with spring,
Incredible how fair: and, from the tide,
There ever and anon, outstarting, flew
Sparkles instinct with life; and in the flowers
Did set them, like to rubies chased in gold.”

In the study of Art there is great pleasure in thus tracing the same thought through Scripture, poetry, and the so-called Fine Arts.

In the representation of the Shepherd and the Sheep, in Santa Maria-in-Trastevere, in Rome, six of the sheep come out from Jerusalem, and six from Bethlehem. There are examples in which the sheep are entering the above cities, which probably represent converts rather than the apostles themselves. Very rarely doves were used as emblems of the apostles.

The lamb, as a symbol of the apostles, may be significant of the office of Christ as the Great Shepherd, or emblematical of the deaths of the disciples, – slain like sheep for his sake, – or may refer to the texts of Scripture in which believers and non-believers are likened to sheep and goats, as in Matthew 25:32. Sheep and lambs are used in other symbolic representations than those of the apostles, and care is necessary in deciding upon their significance in special cases.

The apostles were also pictured as twelve men, each holding a sheep, with Christ as the chief in the centre; in the most ancient of these representations, the faces were all alike. Again, they held scrolls inscribed with their names, and later the Apostles’ Creed was used according to the tradition that each apostle contributed one of its propositions. Thus, Saint Peter, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;” Saint Andrew, “and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,” and so on to the end.

Figures of the apostles holding scrolls inscribed with these sentences are seen on the Tabernacle of the Church of Or San Michele, in Florence.

After the sixth century each apostle had a distinct symbol, and was easily distinguished by it. Saint Peter rarely bears a fish, the keys being far more frequently given him. Saint Paul has one, and, at times, two swords. The transverse cross belongs to Saint Andrew, and a pilgrim’s staff is the symbol of Saint James the Great; Saint John, as an apostle, should have the chalice with the serpent, the eagle being his emblem as an evangelist. Saint Thomas usually has a builder’s rule,more rarely, a spear; Saint James Minor bears a club; and Saint Philip has a cross in his hand, or bears a crosier ending in a cross; Saint Bartholomew has a large knife, Saint Matthew a purse, Saint Simon a saw, Saint Jude – or Thaddeus – a lance or halberd, and Saint Matthias a lance.

The apostles are always represented as twelve in number, but the personality is varied in ancient mosaics and bronzes, in which they are sometimes presented according to the Byzantine rather than the Latin ritual. In some cases Saint Paul replaces Saint Jude, and there are examples in which Saints Mark and Luke are included, to the exclusion of Saints Simon and Matthias.

Statues of the apostles are used in both the exterior and interior decoration of churches, and could not be omitted from any comprehensive system of ecclesiastical decoration. In many representations they are only superseded by Divine Beings, according to the words of Christ: “When the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

The apostles by Jacobelli, on the top of the choir screen in the Basilica of Saint Mark, in Venice, and those by Peter Vischer, on the tomb of Saint Sebald, in Nuremburg, – vastly different in treatment as are the Italian and German schools which these statues represent, – are the finest that I have seen where all the Twelve are present. There are single figures which I much prefer; for example, the Saint James Major, by Thorwaldsen, in the Frue Kirke, in Copenhagen, and the Saint Mark, on the exterior of Or San Michele, in Florence, already mentioned.

The apostles of Jacobelli and Vischer are in a sincere, unaffected style of religious art, far more devotional and acceptable than the dramatic groups of later date, such as Correggio painted in the churches of Parma. Picturesque and dramatic effects are unsuited to these single-hearted, fervent apostles, however artistically they may be handled.

The representation of the apostles in the fresco of the Last Judgment, in the Sistine Chapel, by Michael Angelo, and that by Raphael in La Disputa, in the Stanza della Segnatura, – both in the Vatican, – are most important in the history of Art. The first exhibits a company of undraped giants grouped about Christ in his office of Judge of the World. They are grand figures, demonstrating the great master’s marvellous powers of conception and execution, and testifying to the validity of his immortal fame, but one would shrink from them as judges.

In the Disputa a number of the apostles are omitted, the company including prophets and saints also. It is an assemblage of great dignity, in which the figures are fully draped, and seated on clouds, on each side of the Three Persons of the Trinity. They appear to be calmly discussing the relations between God and man, – the subject of the picture, which is sometimes called “Theology”. Saint Peter and others are easily distinguished by their symbols. It is a most sympathetic representation of the “Communion of Saints.”

Pictures of the apostles in groups, in historical, Scriptural, and legendary subjects, are numerous and easily distinguished. Scenes from the life of Christ in which they are present were favourite motives with the masters, and the most important subjects connected with them after his death – the Descent of the Holy Ghost, the Dispersion to Preach the Gospel, and the Twelve Martyrdoms – were many times repeated. In these scenes other figures are introduced; indeed, in the wonderful representation of the Day of Pentecost, in the chief dome of the Basilica of Saint Mark, – which consists of several distinct parts, – there are not only numerous figures, but fine architectural features, a charming landscape with trees and birds, and other effective details. But the apostles, in whatever company they appear, are distinguished by their figures, their bearing, and the expression of their faces, as well as by their symbols.

A volume would be required were one to satisfactorily treat of the single figures of the apostles in painting and sculpture, and explain the historical or devotional intention of such works.

In groups of apostles Saint Peter is accorded the first place, by universal consent, and is frequently represented with Saint Paul and Saint John the Evangelist. Saints Peter and Paul are honoured, in old mosaics especially, as founders and defenders of the Christian Church in all the world. Important examples of these are seen in Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Sabina, and Saints Cosmo and Damian in Rome; these belong to the fifth and sixth centuries and are more curious and interesting than beautiful.

In the Cathedral of Monreale, at Palermo, the mosaic is of the twelfth century, and is admirable. Saint Peter and Saint Paul are seated on magnificent thrones, the former holding a book in one hand, and two keys in the other, with which he gives the benediction. Saint Paul has a book, and a sword with the point turned upwards. These ancient devotional representations are in a classical style of art, and the heads of the apostles are of the intellectual Greek type.

Milton, referring to Saint Peter, says:

“Two massy keys he bore of metals twain,
The golden opes, the iron shuts amain.”

Dante, however, in the ninth Canto of Purgatory says: “Two keys of metal twain; the one was gold, its fellow silver,” and these last are the metals usually represented in art.

The Deliverance of Peter from Prison, was an attractive subject to artists, and was many times represented, from the date of the early mosaics to the flowering time of religious art. In the mosaics in the Cathedral of Monreale, Peter sits on a stool, apparently much depressed, while the angel deliverer stands beside him.

Among the pictures of this subject the most famous are by Filippino Lippi, in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence, and by Raphael, in the Stanza di Eliodoro in the Vatican.

In the first scene of the Florentine frescoes, Saint Peter looks through his grated window at Saint Paul, who, with his right hand raised, is addressing the prisoner. This Saint Paul is so grand a figure that Raphael found it a worthy model for his picture of Saint Paul preaching at Athens. In the second scene the angel leads the apostle forth beyond the sleeping guard.

The Saint Paul is perhaps the finest figure painted by Filippino, and the brilliant colouring adds to the splendid effect it produces. The angel and the sleeping sentry are also remarkably fine figures, although the colours have suffered, and are somewhat dull.

In Raphael’s frescoes three scenes are devoted to this subject. In the first scene, Peter and two guards, to whom he is chained, are seen through a grating, all in a deep sleep; in the second scene a luminous angel has appeared and is leading Peter forth; in the third, the guards awaken, and are in consternation at the escape of the apostle.

The remarkable feature in these pictures is the effect of the light proceeding from the angel which illumines the first two scenes, in contrast with the light from the torch in the third scene. These works excited great and admiring enthusiasm in Italy, where the effects of varied lights had not been studied so carefully as in the Dutch and Flemish schools. Gerard Honthorst’s picture of this very subject, in the Berlin Gallery, is a fine example of his school. This painter was called in Italy Gerardo dalle Nolli – Gerard of the night – by reason of his painting of night scenes, and he is still called by this name in the history of painting.

Raphael indulged in a bold anachronism when he presented the guards of Saint Peter in the steel cuirasses of his own time, and it has been thought that he intended this as an allusion to the escape of Leo X after the battle of Ravenna, when he was made a prisoner by the French. As Leo was elected Pope on the first anniversary of his escape, Raphael very probably resolved that his fresco should commemorate that experience in the life of his patron.

The last of the eight famous pictures which Murillo painted for the Charity Hospital of Seville represents the release of Saint Peter. It is now in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. The composition is quite different from those of which we have spoken. Here, the apostle, seated on the floor of his prison, is just awakened from sleep, and sees the beautiful angel, from whom a glory of light proceeds. All the astonishment and pleasure which this vision must have brought to the apostle are fully expressed in his venerable face.

The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew is an interesting subject, and was represented by Basaiti in a work now in the Vienna Gallery, and by Ghirlandajo in the Sistine Chapel. Baroccio’s picture of this scene, in the Gallery of Brussels, is also an excellent composition. Peter is kneeling before Christ in the foreground; the latter holds out his hand with a welcoming gesture, as if saying, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” A little back of Peter is his boat, over the side of which Andrew is climbing, while a man stands in the boat, holding it to the shore by pushing with a pole. The Sea of Galilee stretches away in the distance, and another small sailboat is seen.

There is a certain pathos in the face and pose of the Saviour, while Peter looks a stalwart, spirited man. Baroccio, though not a great artist, was correct in design, and skilful in his management of light and shade.

The numerous devotional pictures of Saint Peter, as apostle and patron, with his key or keys, the book, and, occasionally, the cross, are too many to be spoken of in detail, and, as no other saint bears a key, he is at once recognised. When alone, and seated, he is represented in his office of Founder of the Church, – the Rock on which that Church was built. He usually has his hand raised in benediction; he sometimes wears the triple tiara, as a Pope, and has always a commanding and earnest countenance.

The reference that has already been made to Saint Mark, as the amanuensis of Saint Peter, explains certain pictures in which they are in company. I have also referred to early representations in which Saint Peter and Saint Paul are seen together; a peculiar significance was attached to such a composition, since Peter stood for the converted Jews, and Paul for the Gentiles, and together they represented the entire body of Christians. In a few cases the symbols are omitted, but the elder, robust man, with a short, thick beard, and sometimes a bald head, can scarcely fail to be recognised as Peter, beside the younger, smaller man, with the Greek type of face, the flowing beard, the high forehead, and singularly brilliant eyes. This representation is seen on ancient sarcophagi and in mosaics, rather than in pictures of a later time.

The various legends connected with Saint Peter are nearly all depicted in Saint Peter’s, in Rome, but not in a manner that merits description. Those in the Brancacci Chapel – a portion of which we have mentioned – are finer than any other series from the life of this apostle. The subjects are both Scriptural and legendary. The Accusation of Peter and Paul before Nero is a remarkable work, and was not exceeded in dramatic composition before Raphael created his masterpieces, and that he studied these frescoes, and even modelled some of his figures after those he had seen here, is generally conceded. Nero is enthroned on the right of the scene, and is surrounded by ministers and attendants; Simon Magus, the accuser, and the apostles are in the foreground. Paul has an air of quiet dignity, while Peter, greatly excited, points with scorn to the shattered idol at his feet. All these figures are admirable; even Simon Magus is imposing, and, while there is a great variety in the expression of the faces, all are excellent.

It was a custom with the Florentine masters to introduce the portraits of prominent men and women into their frescoes, and it is probable that the pictures in the Brancacci Chapel contained many such likenesses, as did the frescoes by Ghirlandajo in the choir of Santa Maria Novella; but, unfortunately, the portraits of the Brancacci paintings cannot be identified as those by Ghirlandajo have been.

A beautiful legend runs that when Peter, at the solicitation of the Christians in Rome, was leaving the city to escape persecution, he was met by Christ; and when Peter asked our Lord whither he was going, – Domine, quo vadis? – Jesus replied, “I go to be crucified anew,” and vanished. Peter, understanding the reproof, returned to Rome to meet his death.

This scene has been but rarely painted. I know of no good picture that represents it. The only famous work of art associated with it is the statue of Christ in Santa Maria-Sopra-Minerva in Rome, by Michael Angelo. It is supposed to represent the Saviour when meeting Peter on the Appian Way. It is not worthy the great sculptor by whose name it is known; its faults may, however, be attributed to his assistants in its execution rather than to himself.

The picture of the Domine, quo vadis in the National Gallery, London, by Annibale Caracci, is far from satisfactory, and that by Raphael – one of the small pictures in the Stanza della Torre Borgia, in the Vatican – is so comparatively insignificant as a work of this master as to merit slight attention.

In the Cappella degli Spagnuoli, in Santa Maria Novella, Florence, in a fresco by Simone Memmi, Saint Peter is pictured as guarding the entrance to Paradise. He stands, a colossal figure, just within the gate, holding his key. On his left two angels place crowns of flowers on the heads of the accepted souls, who pass Saint Peter in pairs, hand in hand.

Since the key is given to Saint Peter only, he can never be mistaken when this symbol is present.

Although Saint Paul was not a companion of Christ while on earth, he yet ranks next to Saint Peter among the apostles. His life, well known by the Scripture account of him, especially by his own Epistles, serves to make him the most interesting of this important group of men. There are few legends connected with Saint Paul, and a familiarity with the New Testament renders it easy to recognise the representations of him in Art.

His attribute, the sword, does not appear before the end of the eleventh century, and was not in general use until three centuries later, since which it is very rarely omitted. When he leans upon the sword his martyrdom is symbolised; when it is waved aloft it is an emblem of his intrepid warfare for Christianity. Very rarely two swords are given to Saint Paul, as on the shrine of Saint Sebald, by Peter Vischer, which treatment is explained as representing both his power – the usual meaning of his symbol – and his intrepidity.

In devotional pictures Saint Paul is rarely seen alone, being usually accompanied by Saint Peter or other apostles. Unfortunately, this saint appears in many mediocre pictures, as in those in the cupola of Saint Paul’s in London, sketches of which may be seen in the vestry.

Hogarth’s Saint Paul before Felix, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, impressed me most unpleasantly. The figures are commonplace and coarse, while they have a certain force of personality, and are depicted with sufficient spirit to hold the attention for a time, and it must be praised for its admirable composition. But, on the whole, it is an undignified presentation of an important subject.

Guido Reni’s picture of the Dispute at Antioch, now in the Brera, Milan, is famous among the pictures of Saint Paul. Peter is seated with an open book on his knees, and is thoughtfully looking down; Saint Paul stands opposite Saint Peter, and regards him with an air of rebuke, as if saying, “When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed.”

But all other pictures of this great apostle are unimportant when compared with Raphael’s Saint Paul preaching at Athens, one of, the famous cartoons now in the South Kensington Museum, London. The grandeur of the composition, the life and action, the beauty of the figures and of the architecture, merit the celebrity this work has achieved. Passavant says:

Amongst a numerous audience, Saint Paul, standing on the steps, is announcing his divine message.
His look and gestures are inspired, his whole bearing imposing.
In the foreground Dionysius, the Areopagite, accompanied by his wife Damaris, is coming up the steps and testifying his enthusiasm.
On the other side is a well-fed Epicurean, who seems very attentive, but still feels doubts; near him is a proud Stoic.
The Sophists who are seated are already discussing the words of Saint Paul amongst themselves.
This masterly work is the image of the first gigantic struggles of the Christian Church, not yet with ignorance and barbarism, but with the whole pagan philosophy and the worship of false gods.

In the Saint Cecilia, in the Bologna Gallery, also by Raphael, the opposite side of Saint Paul’s character is shown; here he is as thoughtful – or as melancholy – as he is spirited and grand when exclaiming, “Whom ye ignorantly worship, Him I declare unto you.”

There is a difference of opinion as to the fitness of Raphael’s manner of representing Saint Paul, the question being whether the abundant hair and full beard so well represents the ideal Saint Paul, as does the bald head and scanty beard given him by other masters. If we remember his toils and hardships, the preacher at Athens does not suggest a man who has survived such experiences; but the living energy with which he addresses the Athenians could scarcely be expected from a worn and wasted traveller, who has been” in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” Raphael was too thoughtful and too careful an artist to have thus represented the apostle without a reason satisfactory to himself.

Saint Andrew is distinguished in works of art by his transverse cross, and when fastened to it he is bound with cords, according to the legend of his death. Very few subjects connected with this apostle are represented in pictures, and are so painful that they would not be noticed except for great excellence in conception and execution; they are his Adoration of his Cross before being bound to it, his Flagellation, and his Death.

The chapel of Sant’ Andrea in the Church of San Gregorio, Rome, was decorated by Guido Reni and Domenichino. Guido painted the Adoration of the Cross, and Domenichino, the Flagellation, and in Sant’ Andrea della Valle Domenichino represented the Flagellation, the Crucifixion, and the Apotheosis of Saint Andrew. Guido’s picture is disappointing in view of the fact that, with those of Domenichino, it has been accorded some importance in the history of Art. The others are fine in colour, and the groups of women and children who witness these scenes are well composed, and fitly express their fright and horror. Some critics have gone so far as to say that, had these figures power to speak, they could say no more than they now express.

In the Pitti Gallery is Carlo Dolci’s martyrdom of Saint Andrew, which admirably expresses the devotional spirit of the saint, who knelt before his cross and saluted it as precious, since the crucifixion of Jesus had consecrated all crosses. The modelling of the hands is especially fine in this picture.

So important is Saint Andrew as a patron saint that one might reasonably look for many pictures of him. In the fourth century portions of his relics were taken to Scotland, and he was made the protector of that country and of its chief Order of chivalry. Other relics of the saint were brought to Burgundy, and the Order of the Golden Fleece, so important in Flanders and Spain, was placed under the care of Saint Andrew, while he was still further exalted as patron of the Russian Order of the Cross of Saint Andrew.

I know of no picture of this apostle by any Flemish or German artist that merits attention. In Spain, Roelas painted a martyrdom of Saint Andrew, now in the’ Provincial Museum of Seville, which is one of the famous pictures of the Seville school. This artist had studied medicine before he became a. painter, and his anatomical knowledge was very valuable in representing subjects of this nature, which are most painful.

But Murillo’s picture of the same subject, in the Museum of Madrid, is the finest representation of Saint Andrew that I have seen. Of necessity it is a distressing picture, but the two angels, – beautiful as Murillo’s angels are, – bringing from heaven the crown and palm, are reminders of Christian hope and joy, such as are entirely wanting in the works of Guido and Domenichino. The saint, too, appears to feel their influence, and gazes at the heavenly messengers with an expression of holy exultation. While supremely tragic in effect, this picture has a poetic element which tempers its intense sadness.

Saint James the Great – Saint James Major – is presented in Scripture as a favourite follower of Our Lord, and was present at many of the scenes described in the Gospels. Although he slept through the Agony in Gethsemane, he had been one of the three permitted to witness the Transfiguration of Christ. After the Ascension, we read only of his being slain by Herod.

Saint James is celebrated as the first disciple who went forth to preach the gospel. For this reason he is represented in a pilgrim’s dress, and even when the cloak, hat, gourd, and scallop-shell are omitted, he retains the pilgrim staff, and may thus be recognised in pictures of the Madonna and other scenes in which saints are grouped.

The statue of Saint James by Thorwaldsen, in the Frue Kirke in Copenhagen, already mentioned, is very beautiful, and so full of life and motion that, when at a little distance, and having a side view of it, one watches to see it take the step that the sculptor must have arrested.

In many representations of Saint James Major, a resemblance to the usual face and figure of Christ is distinctly noticeable. and indicates his near human relationship to Jesus.

Andrea del Sarto painted a beautiful picture of Saint James – now in the Uffizi Gallery – as a standard for the Compagnia di Sant’ Jacopo. Processional standards were of such importance to the confraternities that the best artists were employed to paint them, even the Madonna di San Sisto having been painted for this purpose. Del Sarto represented Saint James with two children at his feet, one with hands clasped as if asking a benediction from the saint, who, reaching down, puts his hand beneath the boy’s chin in an assuring and caressing manner.

As patron saint of Spain Saint James is very important, and, according to the Spanish legends, the humble follower of Jesus was not a fisherman, but a young noble who used his boats for pleasure, and who, after the Ascension, became a great warrior and led the Spaniards to their victory over the Moors. Especially did he aid the army of King Ramirez, when he refused to deliver the annual tribute of a hundred Christian maidens to the Moorish sovereign. The legend recounts that at the famous battle of Clavijo the saint appeared on a milk-white steed, waving aloft a snow-white banner; sixty thousand Moors were slain, and this battle having given Spain a decisive victory, from that date, A.D. 939, the Spanish war-cry has been Santiago!

There are numerous Spanish legends connected with Saint James which are scarcely worth repetition, and but few pictures illustrating them are known to me.

In a chapel of the Church of Saint Anthony at Padua, there is a series of sixteen pictures, executed in the fourteenth century, illustrating the life of this saint.

A very famous picture of Santiago was painted by Carreno de Miranda, for the high altar of Santiago. It is spirited and grand, and represents the saint as he is said to have appeared at Clavijo, riding a powerful white charger; he holds his banner in one hand, and his sword in the other, with which he is cutting down the Moors, the ground being already thickly strewn with their bodies. The saint’s head is bare; his cloak, raised by the wind, flutters behind him.

As Saint Philip was one of the first disciples called by the master, one would think that he would appear frequently in works of art. On the contrary, there are few pictures of him. In fact, I have seen but one that has left any impression on my memory. This is by Bonifazio, and is in that treasure-house, the Academy of Venice. Here Saint Philip is before the Saviour in an attitude of supplication. Other apostles are in the background. The picture is explained by the inscription, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us,” and the answer, “Philip, he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; I and the Father are one.”

This work is splendid in colour, as deep and rich as Titian’s, whom Bonifazio imitated, although he was a student with the elder Palma. His works are a striking example of the result of patient industry without the aid of unusual talent.

Occasionally one sees a statue of Saint Philip. In one of the niches on the exterior of Or San Michele, in Florence, is his statue by Nanni di Banco; another, by Beccafumi, is on the Cathedral of Siena; and a figure of the apostle, seated and reading, by Ulrich Mair, is in the Belvedere in Vienna.

Saint Bartholomew is rarely seen in works of art. In pictures, he usually appears in groups of apostles, and is sometimes made most unattractive by his emblem of his own skin, he having been flayed before his crucifixion; and when, added to this, he carries a large knife, he more nearly resembles a slayer from the shambles than a saint. He is thus represented in the Last Judgment, by Michael Angelo, in the Sistine Chapel.

Ribera apparently found the martydom of Saint Bartholomew a subject suited to his art, since he painted it more than once, with a sickening fidelity to its details, and also made an etching of it. One of these pictures is in the Pitti Gallery, a second in the Pinacothek at Munich, and a third in the museum at Madrid.

The statue of this apostle, in the Milan Cathedral, has the same repulsive symbols. It is remarkable for its fine anatomy, and for its Latin inscription, which boastfully announces that its author was not Praxiteles, but Marco Agrati.

Tradition teaches that Saint Bartholomew was an Egyptian prince, and among the statues recently placed on the fayade of the cathedral in Florence, there is an impressive, dignified statue of the saint in Oriental costume. The full, flowing drapery, and the artistic head-dress produce an admirable contour, and the whole figure is imposing in effect. I saw it in the studio of Signor Fantacchiotti before it was raised to its present position, and consider it the best representation of Saint Bartholomew of which I know.

Saint Thomas, the doubting disciple, was .of an impulsive and affectionate nature as was shown in his desire to die with the Saviour, expressed in Saint John 11:16, and 20:25. Tradition teaches that he preached the gospel in India, and from a legend connected with that country the builder’s rule is his symbol, while in pictures the fruit and flowers of the Orient refer to the same spiritual and lovely legend. This relates that Jesus appeared to Saint Thomas and desired him to go to India to build a palace for King Gondoforus. After giving his commands to Thomas, the king gave him an enormous amount of money to use in building the palace, and went away for two years. Thomas built nothing and distributed the money to the poor. Returning, the king cast Thomas into prison and sentenced him to a terrible death.

But a brother of the king, who had died, appeared to Gondoforus, and assured him that in Paradise the angels had shown him a splendid palace which they said Thomas had built for Gondoforus. Then the king liberated the saint, who said: “Knowest thou not, O king, that in heaven there are rich palaces for those who purchase them by faith and earthly charity. Thy riches may prepare for thee the way to such a place, but they cannot follow thee thither.”

On account of this legend Saint Thomas is the patron saint of architects, and as portions of his remains were found by the Portuguese at Meliapore and transported to Goa; he is the patron saint of their country; he is also the protector of Parma, where, in the fresco of the Assumption, in the cathedral, Correggio has introduced a fine picture of him.

The chief historical subject in the life of Saint Thomas is the Incredulity, or his doubt of the death and resurrection of Christ, which was satisfied only by actual contact with the wounds of the Saviour. This incident is represented either at the moment when the apostle is examining the wounds, or when, having done so, he is in an attitude of adoration, gazing heavenward with an expression of wonder and love.

Vandyck pictured the saint as examining the wounded hand, while in the splendid picture by Rubens, in the Antwerp Gallery, the apostle has his hand on the side of the risen Christ, while his face expresses astonishment and grief. Saint Peter and Saint John are near by, and the whole work is most satisfactory; I know of no. other picture of the doubting Thomas that approaches it in excellence. Guercino’s picture in the Vatican Gallery has been much admired, but the position of Christ and the saint, both seen in profile, lessens the effect of the scene when compared with that of Rubens.

The picture known as the Madonna of the Girdle illustrates the legend that when the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven in the sight of the apostles, Saint Thomas was absent, and on his return could not believe the wonderful story of her translation. Then the Virgin, pitying his doubting state, as her son had done, threw her girdle down to him, while appearing in the clouds above. By reason of this legend the girdle is sometimes placed in the hand of the apostle instead of his usual symbol, the builder’s rule.

This subject was popular with the Florentine painters, as it was believed that this heaven-sent girdle was preserved in the neighbouring Cathedral of Prato.

The composition of Granacci’s picture, in the Uffizi, is exquisitely simple and acceptable. The Virgin appears in the clouds, surrounded by angels. Beneath her is the tomb from which she has risen, now filled with flowers. Saint Thomas kneels on one side of the tomb and clasps the girdle which the Virgin lets down to him, while he gazes at her in adoration; Saint Michael kneels on the other side, with his face turned to the spectator, as if to say, “Observe this miraculous event, and let your faith be strengthened.”

In the chapel of the Sacra Cintola – Sacred Girdle – in the Cathedral of Prato, the Assumption of the Virgin, by Agnolo Gaddi, about 1395, shows Saint Thomas in the lower part, stretching out his arms for the girdle which Mary is loosening from .her person. This fresco is one of the best preserved works of this most famous pupil of Giotto.

Saint James Minor is rendered interesting by the legend that he so resembled Jesus – who was his first cousin – that the kiss of Judas was necessary in order that James should not be mistaken for Our Lord. In ancient pictures this resemblance is so pronounced that he would be easily recognised without his symbol, the fuller’s club, which typifies the manner of his death. He has not been a favourite saint and there are no pictures of him so important as to demand description. In devotional pictures he leans on his club, and sometimes carries a book.

Neither do Saint Simon Zelotes, nor Saint Jude, also called Thaddeus, merit special attention in Art, the pictures of them are so few. The symbol of Saint Simon is a saw, and that of Saint Jude a halberd, both symbolic of the manner of their martyrdom.

In this connection, however, a picture by Perugino, in the museum at Marseilles, should be mentioned. It is called a Holy Family, and it is claimed that every relative of Christ named in the Scripture is here represented. At the feet of the enthroned Virgin are two lovely children on whose aureoles the names Simon and Thaddeus are written.

The Scripture warrant for such a picture – Matthew 13:55, and Mark 15:40 – is so full that one wonders that it was not painted frequently, and while Perugino’s work is good, a more spiritual and imaginative artist than he would have found a deeper inspiration in it.

Saint Matthias, who was called to replace the traitor Judas, is rarely seen in pictures of groups of the apostles, and as rarely in a devotional picture alone. The Germans make his symbol an axe, while the Italians give him a lance.

One cannot speak of Judas as a saint, and is sorry to associate him with the apostles, and yet he appears in pictures which cannot be ignored. He is very properly introduced in several scenes in the life of Christ, and is easily recognised. When represented as extremely repulsive in person it seems to me an error, since it would not seem that one whose very face revealed so hateful a character could have been chosen or retained as an apostle. The legends represent him as a comely person, and Fra Angelico, in his picture of Judas receiving the thirty pieces of silver, now in the Academy of Florence, has made him well featured, with a wicked expression.

So in Perugino’s picture of the Magdalen anointing the feet of the Saviour, in the Academy of Venice, the face of Judas expresses anger at the waste of the precious ointment, but he is well featured, and only ugly in expression.

In early Italian art one meets with a horrible nightmare style of representing Judas, which is not surprising when one recalls those lines in the thirty-fourth canto of Dante’s Inferno, which describe the agonies of Judas in one of Lucifer’s three horrid mouths.

“At every mouth his teeth a sinner champ’d,
Bruised as with ponderous engine; so that three
Were in this guise tormented. But far more
Than from that gnawing, was the foremost pang’d
By the fierce rending whence oft-times the back
Was stripp’d of all its skin. ‘That upper spirit,
Who hath worst punishment,’ so spake my guide,
‘Is Judas, he that hath his head within
And plies the feet without.'”