Madonna and Child with Saints

Museo d'Arte Sacra, San Leo, Italy

On the left of the Madonna is St. Louis of Toulouse; on the right, St. Stephen.

As usual, Louis of Toulouse is portrayed as a beardless youth holding a book and wearing the gray Franciscan habit under his "pontificals," the formal garb worn by bishops on the most important occasions: note the elegant gloves and the embroidered cope with jeweled clasp.

Stephen is portrayed as usual: a tonsured and beardless youth wearing a dalmatic and carrying a book. On his head are three stones, one on each temple and one in the center of the forehead. These are his attribute, referring to the manner of his martyrdom. He holds in his right hand a long wooden piece similar in shape to a modern yardstick. It is not clear what this might refer to.

The date of the painting is most likely in the mid-to-late 16th century, when it had become customary to drape a translucent fabric over the child's hips.

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Read more about images of St. Stephen, St. Louis of Toulouse and of the Madonna and Child.

Photographed at the site by Claire Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.