Master of Liesborn
Saints Ambrose, Exuperius, and Jerome

Circa 1460-90
Painting, 47.2 x 26.7 in. (120 x 67.9 cm.)
National Gallery, London

The figure in the center is St. Exuperius of Thebes, a captain under St. Maurice in the Theban Legion when its members were all beheaded for refusing to persecute Christians. Like Maurice, he is dressed as a soldier and his attributes are a cross and sword. His blond hair could be intended to associate him with virgin martyrs. All members of the Theban Legion share the same feast day, September 22.

St. Exuperius's part in the story of the Theban Legion is recounted at this paragraph in the Golden Legend. Also see Acta Sanctorum, September vol. 6, 308-403 and Butler, III, 619-21.

This saint should not be confused with the two sainted bishops of the same name, Exuperius of Bayeus and Exuperius of Toulouse.

St. Ambrose has the cope, mitre, and crozier that traditionally identify bishops. There are no other attributes, unless the white ribbons hanging from the crozier represent his traditional flail. As "Fathers of the Church" who wrote significant contributions to theology, he and St. Jerome both hold books.

Jerome's attribute is the lion seen in the lower right corner. As usual in this period, the saint is dressed as a cardinal in recognition of his work for Pope Damasus I, with red vestments and a flat red hat.

Read more about St. Ambrose.
Read more about St. Jerome.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.