In medieval images of the 14th and 15th centuries St. Chrysogonus is presented as a Crusader. His shield will be marked with a large cross and he may be on horseback, as at right. Sometimes he will also have a banner with a cross, as in
from a polyptych of the Virgin and Child.
Before the 14th century Chrysogonus was more likely to be arrayed as a Roman military office of high rank, as in the second picture at right. This iconography continues in Orthodox icons (example). In the west, artists reverted to it after the period of the Crusades, as in this painting from 1622.1
The saint is remembered as a military officer who was imprisoned for his faith. According to the Golden Legend, St. Anastasia succored him in prison and when her husband found out he had her arrested. Chrysogonus was then brought before the Emperor Diocletian, who ordered him to sacrifice to the gods. When the saint refused, he was beheaded. This sequence is pictured in a set of images in the apse of San Crisogono in Rome. Because of her association with Chrysogonus in the legend, Anastasia is sometimes paired with him in the art (Petricioli, 82, 128, and this relief in Zadar's Cathedral).
Prepared in 2014 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University, revised 2015-10-20.