Veronese (Paolo Caliari)
St. Lawrence with St. Jerome and St. Prosper

Church of San Giacomo dall'Orio, Venice

As a deacon St. Lawrence wears a richly embroidered dalmatic and reads from a gospel book held for him by an acolyte. One of a deacon's tasks during the Mass is to read the gospel passage assigned for that particular day. Seen only partly behind him is his attribute, the gridiron on which he was burned to death. At his feet is a chained strongbox, perhaps an allusion to the Roman church's monetary treasure that he distributed to the poor at the request of Pope Sixtus.

Wearing the red mantle customary in his portraits, St. Jerome sits in the lower left corner, seemingly on the back of the lion that is his attribute. St. Prosper, a 6th-century bishop of Reggio Emilia in Italy, stands on the right with the cope, mitre, and crozier that identify a saint who was a bishop. Accounts of his life are summarized in Acta Sanctorum, June vol. 5, 53-71, and in Butler, II, 639-40. His feast day is June 25.

Above, a putto brings two palm branches. It is common in medieval and Renaissance images for an angel to bring a single palm branch to a saint who is a martyr. In this case it is not clear why there are two branches: Lawrence was a martyr, but Jerome and Prosper were not.

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