King Solomon and St. Lawrence

8th-9th century
Fresco fragment
Museo Pio Cristiano, The Vatican, Rome

The museum's label identifies the figure on the left as Solomon. The words in the book he holds are initium sapienti[e], "the beginning of wisdom," referring to the maxim, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," which appears in Psalm 110:10 and Sirach 1:16. Neither Sirach nor the Psalms were believed to have been written by Solomon, but the phrase is attributed to him in a stained glass in Strasbourg Cathedral, so the museum's attribution seems reasonable.

The sleeved garment on the figure on the right is most likely a dalmatic. That and the absence of a beard suggest the identification as St. Lawrence. It was not until the medieval period that the gridiron became his attribute.

Both figures form the right hand into the blessing configuration.

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