Fra Angelico
Five Saints

15th century
Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany

Left to right: John the Baptist (animal skin, long cross), Giles (mitre, crozier, book), Blessed Gerard of Villamagna (Franciscan habit, hooked rod). Behind: St. Paul (sword) and St. Catherine of Alexandria (crown).

Blessed Gerard of Villamagna was a hermit and third-order Franciscan who lived 1174-1245. His feast is on May 23. In his legend he found a stone box that could serve as his coffin and used one yoke of ill-tempered oxen to transport it back to his hermitage over terrain that his cousin said would require three yokes and several men (Acta Sanctorum, May vol. 3, 248). This is why his attribute is the ox-goad pictured in his right hand.

The five saints are identified by a label in the museum, but the mitre on St. Giles, and the absence of his customary attributes, render this identification doubtful. In the real world many abbots were granted the right to wear a mitre, but in the art abbots are usually pictured without mitres to distinguish them from bishops. I know of only one St. Giles with a mitre, a modern stained-glass window in Chesterton, England, and I know of none that picture him in white vestments.

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Read more about St. John the Baptist, St. Giles, St. Paul, and St. Catherine.

Photographed at the museum by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.