Saint Christopher

Quentin Matsys

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp

The thirteenth-century Legenda Aurea tells of the heathen giant Christopher who, longing to be in the employ of the world's most powerful ruler, entered the service of a Christian prince. One day, though, the prince crossed himself to ward off evil, prompting Christopher to take service with the Devil, who was evidently more powerful. However, Satan in turn appeared to be fearful of a cross along the roadside. Christopher resolved to get to know this supreme lord of the cross. A hermit told him that he could serve that lord by carrying people over deep water and that this lord would presently make himself known. After a long time, a child appeared who wished to be taken across the water. The water rose up and the child became as heavy as lead. With difficulty, Christopher reached the other bank, having not only carried the Christ child, but also the weight that He bore on his shoulders. Quinten Massijs uses the theme to paint a beautiful river landscape with a sunset.

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  • Title: Saint Christopher
  • Creator: Quinten Massijs I
  • Location: (Leuven 1456 - Antwerp 1530)