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Sunday at the Met: Preserving the Immaterial

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Saint Christopher Carrying Christ

Date:
1510–20
Geography:
Made in Lower Bavaria (Valley of the Danube), Germany
Culture:
German
Medium:
Limewood
Dimensions:
Overall: 56 x 19 1/2 in., 72lb. (142.2 x 49.5 cm, 32659g)
Classification:
Sculpture-Wood
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1973
Accession Number:
1973.135
  • Description

    According to legend, Saint Christopher devoted his life to carrying the weak and poor across a river. One night, when he was taking a child across, he felt his burden grow heavier with each step. When questioned, the child declared that he was Christ and that Christopher was thus bearing the weight of the world. Although not fully carved in the round, the figure was probably intended as an independent work placed on a console or against a pier. The widespread cult of Saint Christopher stemmed largely from the belief that gazing on his image would protect believers from storms and other threats in their travels. The sculpture is executed in a highly expressive and animated style. The saint looks intensely at his youthful burden, his hand resting on his hip for support. The drapery sweeps around the figure, mirroring the water swirling around his feet, suggesting the integral relationship between man and nature.

  • Provenance

    Mrs. George Trubner , New York (until 1972) ; Henry Trubner , New York (1973)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
471986

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