The Prophet Habakkuk: The Iconography
Habakkuk is the eighth of the "minor prophets" whose works are collected at the end of the Old Testament. His portraits appear mainly in groups of prophets.

In Vulgate Daniel 14:33-49, Habakkuk is in Judea preparing a bowl of bread and potage for "the reapers" when an angel commands him to take the bowl to Daniel in the lions' den in Babylon. Habakkuk has no idea how to get to that city, so the angel grabs him by the hair and whisks him off to Daniel. Habakkuk's service is remembered in several paleo-Christian sarcophagi (see the first picture at right) and in medieval works as well (the second picture).

Prepared in 2020 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University, revised 2020-06-11.

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Detail from a 4th-century sarcophagus. Habakkuk brings a bowl of bread and stew to Daniel in the lions' den. (See the description page.)


Sixteenth-century painted glass of the angel telling Habakkuk to take the pot of stew to Daniel. (See the description page.)


A stairway in Seville's Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes is hung with several portraits of prophets, including Habakkuk. (See the description page.)

MORE IMAGES

  • Late 15th / early 16th century: Habakkuk is portrayed among several dozen other prophets and Old Testament personages on the ceiling of the nave at Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Venice.
  • 1655: In Bernini's sculpture, Habakkuk and the Angel, the pot of bread and stew becomes a basket.

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