This large oil on canvas painting from the 1600’s portrays Saint Augustine in his library. The venerable scholar is depicted wearing a gold mitre embellished with floral rinceaux. His scarlet red chasuble is embroidered with gold arabesque and curled leaf motifs, offering a stark contrast from the darkened background. Books are piled up behind Augustine, as he holds a pen and an open hard-covered book, indicating that he is in the process of writing one of his theological manuscripts.
The giltwood frame (20th C.) that surrounds the canvas has delicate carvings on all sides. Motifs include spiral fluting, infilled lunettes, and a repetitive geometric pattern. At the bottom of the frame is a plaque that reads “Saint Augustine 17th Century”.
Augustine was born in 354 in Thagaste, Algeria, at the time, a Roman municipality. A Berber by birth, Augustine converted to Christianity in 386 and would eventually become bishop of the ancient city Hippo Regius, hence the moniker “Augustine of Hippo”. Augustine was canonized in 1298 by Pope Boniface VIII and is considered the patron saint of brewers, printers, and theologians.
Standing at nearly 5 feet high (framed), this elegant portrayal of Saint Augustine will become the focal point of any wall on which it’s hung. One of the most well known St Augustine paintings was executed in 1480 by Sandro Botticelli. The Botticelli painting, like the one seen here, show Augustine in his study, viewed from his left side, writing a letter or manuscript with a richly decorated mitre. The background of this painting is quite dark, as was often the case in dramatic 17th century figural/portrait paintings. This places an emphasis on the soft lighting and rich color used on the Saint and his vestment.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor rubs and buildup to canvas. Light buildup and age separations to frame. Visible restorations to the canvas. Please see photos for details.