This painting of St. Christopher was originally created as one of the outer doors of a small traveling altarpiece; its pair is also in the Cincinnati Art Museum collection, St. Stephen (accession number 1956.11).
The tale of Saint Christopher, whose name derives from the Greek Christos (Christ) and pherein (to carry), describes a giant who ferried people on his back across a stream. A child appeared to him, asked to be taken across, and proved to be the heaviest burden Christopher had ever carried—his staff nearly broke under the weight. The child declared that Christopher had just carried the weight of the world. The blossoming of the staff into a palm tree confirmed the identity of Christopher’s burden as a miraculous apparition of the Christ Child.