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FEAST - A Saint for the Day (August 24): St. Bartholomew the Apostle


John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>


medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>


Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:35:59 +0000





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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

The apostle Bartholomew is so named in the synoptic gospels; he is usually identified with the Nathanael of John 1:45-50 and 21:2.  He is said to have preached in places vaguely called 'India', in Lycaonia and other parts of Asia Minor, and, finally, in Armenia.  Accounts of his martyrdom vary.  In the East he was often said to have been crucified; Rabanus Maurus, Ado, and Usuard have him decapitated; Isidore of Seville and Bede have him flayed alive.  Bartholomew's iconography in the later medieval West often shows him holding a flaying knife; tanners and leather workers took him for their patron.

After fifth- and early sixth-century translations in Asia, Bartholomew's purported remains were brought to Lipari in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily in about 580, an event narrated by St. Gregory of Tours in his _In gloria martyrum_ (cap. 34).  In or about 838 what were said to be these remains were brought to Salerno just ahead of the Muslim seizure of Lipari and from there they soon went on to the city of Benevento, capital of the principality of the same name.  At some point in the eleventh century, it would seem, relics of Bartholomew said to have come from Benevento arrived in Rome and were housed in Otto III's church on Tiber Island dedicated to Sts. Adalbert (of Prague) and Paulinus (of Nola).  There they are said to remain (less pieces that have gone elsewhere), in the church that quickly began to be called after Bartholomew, today's San Bartolomeo all'Isola.

Today (24. August) is Bartholomew's feast day in Latin-rite churches and in others whose sanctoral calendars have been influenced by those of the Roman Rite.  In churches using the Byzantine Rite Bartholomew's principal feast (shared with St. Barnabas) falls on 11. June.   In the Armenian Apostolic church St. Bartholomew and St. Jude (as Thaddaeus) are commemorated jointly on 28. November.

Some period-pertinent images of St. Bartholomew the Apostle:

a) as depicted (at left; at center, St. Jude; at right, St. Simon) in the later fifth-century mosaic ceiling (between 451 and 475) of the Neonian Baptistery / Orthodox Baptistery in Ravenna:


b) as depicted in the very late fifth- or early sixth-century mosaics of the Cappella Arcivescovile (a.k.a. Cappella di Sant'Andrea) in Ravenna: 


c) as depicted (third from left, after Sts. Simon and Thomas) in the earlier sixth-century mosaics (carefully restored, 1890-1900) of the triumphal arch in the Basilica Eufrasiana in Poreč:


d) as depicted in relief (at left; at right, St. Simon) on a later tenth-century ivory reliquary casket (betw. ca. 951 and 1000) of probable Constantinopolitan origin and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: 


e) as depicted in the earlier eleventh-century decor (restored between 1953 and 1962) of the monastery of Hosios Loukas near Distomo in Phokis: 

1) in mosaic in the narthex of the church of the Theotokos: 


2) in fresco in the crypt of the katholikon: 


f) as depicted (upper margin; martyrdom by crucifixion and flaying) in a twelfth-century Gospels of probable Constantinopolitan origin (Paris, BnF, ms. Supplément grec 27, fol. 192r): 


A slightly closer view: 


g) as portrayed (flayed) in a twelfth-century polychromed columnar stone statue in the iglesia de San Bartolomé in Rebordans (Pontevedra) in Galicia: 




The statue's placement in the window niche of the church's apse is recent. 

h) as depicted in an historiated capital "I" in an earlier twelfth-century legendary from the abbey of Cîteaux (ca. 1101-1133; Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 641, fol. 24v):


i) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Simon) in the earlier twelfth-century mosaics (ca. 1143) of Palermo's chiesa di Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (a.k.a. chiesa della Martorana):


Detail view (Bartholomew):


j)  as depicted (lower register at center) in the mid-twelfth-century apse mosaics (completed, 1148) of the basilica cattedrale della Trasfigurazione in Cefalù:


Detail view (Bartholomew at right):


k) as depicted (martyrdom by flaying) in a mid-twelfth-century gradual for the Use of Fontevraud (Limoges, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 181v):


l) as portrayed in relief (second from left; first right-facing figure) by Gruamonte (attrib.) on the later twelfth-century facade (1167) of the chiesa di San Bartolomeo in Pantano in Pistoia:


m) as portrayed in relief (second from left in the Last Supper panel) by Anselmo da Campione on the later twelfth-century parapet / _pontile_ (ca. 1170-1180) in the cattedrale di San Geminiano in Modena: 


n) as portrayed in relief (lower register at far left; next, St. James the Less; next again, St. Trophimus of Arles) on the late twelfth-century portal (ca. 1190-1200) of the basilique primatiale Saint-Trophime in Arles: 


Detail view (Bartholomew): 


o) as depicted (martyrdom by strangulation) in one of four panels of a full-page illumination in the late twelfth-century so-called Bible of Saint Bertin (ca. 1190-1200; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 5, fol. 28v, sc. 1B):


p) as depicted (at left, aiding St. Guthlac) in the early thirteenth-century Guthlac Roll (1210) in the British Library (Harley Roll, Y.6, roundel 8):




q) as depicted in one of the earlier thirteenth-century glass windows in the choir (bay 106; ca. 1225-1230) of the basilique cathédrale Saint-Remi in Reims: 

1) full-length image: 


2) scenes from his Passio: 


r) as depicted (martyrdom by flaying) in an earlier thirteenth-century collection of saint's lives in their French-language translation by Wauchier de Denain (betw. 1226 and 1250; London, BL, Royal 20 D VI, fol. 42r; image greatly expandable): 


s) as depicted (upper margin; martyrdom: being flayed) in an earlier thirteenth-century psalter from Hildesheim (ca. 1230-1240; Paris, BnF, Nouvelle acquisition latine 3102, fol. 5r): 


t) as portrayed in a silver gilt statuette on the later thirteenth-century copper gilt châsse of St. Remaclus (completed betw. 1263 and 1268) in the église Saint-Sébastien in Stavelot:


u) as depicted (holding his flayed skin) in the later thirteenth-century Oscott Psalter (ca. 1265-1270; London, BL, MS Add 50000, fol. 9r): 


v) as depicted (teaching whilst inspired by the Holy Spirit) in a late thirteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Thérouanne (ca. 1280-1290; Marseille, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 111, fol. 60r):


w) as depicted (martyrdom by decapitation) in a later thirteenth-century collection of saint's lives in French (1285; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 412, fol. 46v): 


x) as depicted (martyrdom by flaying) in the late thirteenth-century Livre d'images de Madame Marie (ca. 1285-1290; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 67v):


y) as depicted (panel at far left, followed by those for St. Ansanus, St. Crescentius, and St. Savinus) as one of Siena's patron saints by Duccio di Buoninsegna in his relatively recently restored late thirteenth-century great window (1287-1288) for that city's cathedral (now in the Museo dell'Opera della Metropolitana): 


z) as depicted (second from left) in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco (betw. 1301 and 1350) in the chiesa di San Tommaso di Canterbury at Corenno Plinio, a _frazione_ of Dervio (LC) in Lombardy: 


aa) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century glass window (betw. 1301 and 1350) in Hörsne kyrka in Hörsne (Gotland): 


bb) as depicted (third from left) by Duccio di Buoninsegna in a panel of his early fourteenth-century Maestà altarpiece (betw. 1308-1311) in the Museo del Opera del Duomo in Siena:


cc) as depicted (bas-de-page; martyrdom by flaying) in the early fourteenth-century Queen Mary Psalter (ca. 1310-1320; London, BL, Royal MS 2 B VII, fol. 264r):



dd) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century apse frescoes (betw. ca. 1315 and 1324) of the basilica di Sant'Abbondio in Como: 


ee) as depicted (at center in the panel at lower left; martyrdom by crucifixion; at lower right in the same panel: St. Barnabas) in an earlier fourteenth-century pictorial menologion from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 43r):


ff) as depicted (his flaying) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of the _Legenda Aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1326-1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 43v): 


gg) as depicted (his flaying) in an earlier fourteenth-century French-language legendary of Parisian origin with illuminations attributed to the Fauvel Master (ca. 1327; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 183, fol. 31v):


hh) as depicted (martyrdom by flaying) in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1335) in the cappella di San Giovanni in the chiesa dei Domenicani in Bolzano / Bozen: 


ii) as portrayed (seated) in a probably mid- to later fourteenth-century statue (ca. 1340-1380; once routinely attributed to Nicola da Monteforte) in Benevento's basilica cattedrale metropolitana di Santa Maria de Episcopio: 


jj) as depicted (martyrdom by flaying) by Giovanni da Milano in a predella panel of his mid-fourteenth-century Prato polyptych (ca. 1343-1363) in that city's Pinacoteca comunale: 


kk) as depicted (holding his flayed skin) in the Litanies section of a later fourteenth-century miscellany of mostly French-language devotional texts (betw. 1351 and 1400; Paris, BnF, Français 400 [Colbert 1432], fol. 26r): 


ll) as depicted (lower register; above, St. Luke) in the later fourteenth-century frescoes (1360s and 1370s; restored in 1968-1970) in the church of St. Demetrius in Marko's Monastery at Markova Sušica (near Skopje) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:


mm) as depicted (at left; at right -- in a separate fragment from the same dismembered altarpiece--, St. Anthony of Egypt) by Lorenzo Veneziano in a later fourteenth-century panel painting (1368?) in the Pinacoteca nazionale in Bologna: 


nn) as depicted in a later fourteenth-century Roman missal of north Italian origin (ca. 1370; Avignon, Bibliothèque-Médiathèque municipale Ceccano, ms. 136, fol. 264v):



oo) as portrayed in relief (at left, with an abbot- or bishop-saint) in a late fourteenth-century vault boss from the Carmelite convent in Barcelona (demolished, 1875) now in the Museu d'Arte de Catalunya in the same city: 


pp) as depicted by the Troyes Master in the late fourteenth-century Hours of Prigent de Coëtivy (ca. 1380-1400; Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 1511, fol. 203r):


qq) as depicted in an historiated initial "M" by the Master of the Modena Book of Hours in a late fourteenth-century Dominican missal from Lombardy (ca. 1390-1400; The Hague, Museum Meermanno, Ms. 10 A 16, fol. 212r):


rr) as portrayed in relief (fourth from right) on the late fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century tomb of St. Wendelin in his basilica in Sankt Wendel:  


ss) as portrayed in an earlier fifteenth-century polychromed stone statue from Burgundy (betw. 1401 and 1450) now in the Cloisters Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (image expandable): 


tt) as depicted in an early fifteenth-century glass window panel of Austrian origin (ca. 1410) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York: 


uu) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Thomas) in the early fifteenth-century Apostles Window (1419) in the Liebfrauenkirche in Ravensburg: 


vv) as depicted (at left in the wing at left; at right in that wing, St. Blasius of Sebaste / Blaise / Biagio; the corresponding figures on the other wing are St. Juvenal of Narni and St. Anthony of Egypt) by Masaccio in his earlier fifteenth-century San Giovenale triptych (1422) in the Museo Masaccio at Cascia di Reggello (FI) in Tuscany: 


ww) as depicted (second from left, exorcising a demon) by the Master of Saint Bartholomew in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1440-1460) from a dismembered altarpiece in the Museu d'Arte de Catalunya, Barcelona: 


xx) as depicted (fourth from left) in what remains of a mid-fifteenth-century fresco of the Last Supper (ca. 1450; restored, 1870-1873) in the oratorio di San Lorenzo all'alpe Seccio in Boccioleto (VC) in Piedmont: 


yy) as depicted in grisaille by Jean le Tavernier in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (ca. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 250v):


zz) as depicted (martyrdom by flaying) in a later fifteenth-century copy (ca. 1451-1500) of Jean Mansel's _Fleur des histoires_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 57, fol. 39r): 


aaa) as depicted (evangelizing in Armenia; martyrdom by decapitation after flaying) in a later fifteenth-century copy (1463) of books 9-16 of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 50, fol. 337v, 338v): 

1) evangelizing in Armenia: 


2) martyrdom: 


bbb) as depicted (at right, after Sts. Matthew and Barnabas) by the Master of the Eggelsberger Altarpiece on a later fifteenth-century altarpiece (ca. 1465-1475) in the Veste Oberhaus museum in Passau: 


ccc) as depicted (holding his flayed skin) by Matteo di Giovanni in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1480) in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest:


ddd) as depicted (at left, holding his flayed skin; at right, St. Charlemagne) in an _Amtsbuch_ (register) from 1482 of the chapter of the imperial "cathedral" dedicated to him in Frankfurt am Main, now in the Stadtarchiv Frankfurt am Main: 


eee) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Philip) by Miguel Ximénez and workshop in panels of his and Martín Bernad's late fifteenth-century altarpiece of the Holy Cross (completed, 1487) for the parish church of Blesa (Teruel) and now, after dismemberment, mostly in the Museo de Zaragoza:


Detail view (Bartholomew):


fff) as depicted (second from right, holding his flayed skin) in the recently restored late fifteenth-century portraits of the apostles (ca. 1490-1500) in the apse of the chapelle San Pantaleon in Gavignano (Haute-Corse): 


Detail views (Bartholomew): 




ggg) as depicted (at center; with a donor) in the central panel of the dismembered early sixteenth-century St. Bartholomew Altarpiece (ca. 1505-1510) in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich:



John Dillon


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