Olivetan Master, Initial R with Saints Gervase and Protase

Italian, mid 15th century
Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment
Metropolitan Museum of Art, gift of Dr. Bashford Dean, 23.21.10

The saints' names are provided in now-faint white letters on the ascender of the R (SANCTUS PROTASIUS) and on its upper and lower loops on the right (SANCTUS and GERVASIUS respectively). They are shown not in the white mantles they wore in St. Ambrose's vision but clad as if soldiers and bearing swords. The Golden Legend says Protasius was beheaded, but otherwise it has nothing to suggest that the young men were soldiers.

More of Saints Gervase and Protasius

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