Saint Augustine, Protector of his Order

Brief tour through some details of the painting

By Santa Clara Museum

Saint Agustine Protecting His Order (XVIIth century) by Unknown artistSanta Clara Museum

Saint Augustine was born in Thagaste, present-day Algeria, on November 13th, 354. His father, Patricius, was a Roman official and his mother, Saint Monica, a devout Christian. 

Augustine studied Liberal Arts and in 370 he went to live in Carthage, where he had contacts with heretical doctrines that, as seen in this image, he fought harshly after his conversion to Christianity. 

In 383, he obtained the position of orator in the imperial court of Milan. In this city, he attended the preaching of Bishop Ambrose, who brought him closer to the Christian faith and baptized him on April 24th, 387. After his conversion, he was ordained priest in 391. Four years later he was consecrated as bishop in the city of Hippo, present-day Algeria, where he died on August 28th, 430. 

This painting of the saint is inspired by an engraving from the series Iconographia Magni Patris Aurelli Agustini (1628), engraved by Boetius Bolswert. In the print the saint is shown as the protector of his order.

Both in the painting and in the engraving, Saint Augustine is represented with bishop’s vestments, a crozier, and a pluvial cape supported by two angels, an attire that symbolizes the protection granted to the members of the Augustinian order and the various lay and religious corporations that followed the principles established by the saint.

Unlike the engraving in which only religious figures appear, civil and military figures are in the lower right part of the painting. 

In the composition stands out a man with his hands in a praying position, who, most likely, was the donor of the work. On his chest the cross of Calatrava, symbol of a chivalric order founded in the 13th century to fight against the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula, is stamped.  

In the lower part the miter, symbol of the position of bishop, and three subdued faces under the feet of the saint can be seen. These would correspond to the figures of Pelagius, Donatus and Manes, founders, respectively, of Pelagianism, Donatism and Manichaeism, doctrines considered heretical by Catholics and which Saint Augustine fought after his conversion to the Christian faith. 

Credits: Story


 Museum Director 

María Constanza Toquica Clavijo 

 

Museology 

Manuel Amaya Quintero 

 

Curation 

Anamaría Torres Rodríguez 

María Isabel Téllez Colmenares 

 

Collection Management 

Paula Ximena Guzmán López 

 

Proofreading 

Tanit Barragán Montilla 

 

Communications 

Valentina Bastidas Cano 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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