The Martyrdom of Saint Adrian; The Martyrdom of Two Saints, Possibly Ache and Acheul, Northern French Painter (ca. 1480), Oil on canvas, transferred from wood

The Martyrdom of Saint Adrian; The Martyrdom of Two Saints, Possibly Ache and Acheul

Northern French Painter (ca. 1480)
Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
Each, including added strips, 22 7/8 x 11 in. (58.1 x 27.9 cm)
Credit Line:
The Bequest of Michael Dreicer, 1921
Accession Number:
Not on view
In the left panel Saint Adrian, an officer in the Roman army who converted to Christianity, is martyred as Emperor Maximilian and Adrian's fellow officers look on. The panel on the right probably depicts the martyrdom of the brothers Ache and Acheul, who, according to their legend, were martyred at Amiens with wooden swords for refusing to sacrifice to the gods. These pictures were part of an altarpiece from the Augustinian abbey of Eaucourt, Arras, where Ache and Acheul were particularly venerated. They reflect the style of Simon Marmion, the leading painter of northern France in the second half of the fifteenth century, and that of the Netherlander Dieric Bouts.

On the basis of the costumes, they can be dated about 1480. There are serious paint losses in both pictures.
Abbey of Eaucourt, Arras, France; Adrien, Paris; [Wildenstein, New York]; Michael Dreicer, New York (until d. 1921)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition," May 8–August 1920, unnumbered cat. (p. 8, as by the School of Simon Marmion, lent by Michael Dreicer).

"Pictures Lent for the Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 15 (August 1920), pp. 188–89, identifies the subjects of these paintings as the martyrdom of Saint Adrian and, possibly, an obscure story with Saint Quentin, mentioning an apparently similar subject in a French tapestry in the Louvre; considers the painter to be of the School of Simon Marmion, noting a relationship with his Scenes from the Life of Saint Bertin in the Berlin Museum [Gemäldegalerie]—although the two panels betray mostly the influence of Dieric Bouts and the Flemish miniaturists; states that they came from the Abbey of Eaucourt near Arras, France.

H. B. W[ehle]. "The Michael Dreicer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 17 (May 1922), pp. 102, 104–5, ill., as probably by Simon Marmion; identifies the scenes as the martyrdoms of Saint Adrian and, probably, Saint Quentin.

Max J. Friedländer. "Einige Tafelbilder Simon Marmions." Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft 1 (1923), p. 170, pl. 77, describes them as worthy of Marmion in some parts but showing an unusual aspect of his art and therefore belonging to a relatively early period of his career.

Bryson Burroughs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. 9th ed. New York, 1931, pp. 230–31.

Charles Sterling. La peinture française: Les peintres du moyen age. Paris, 1942, p. 64 (of Répertoire), no. 42, dates these panels about 1480 or 1470 and calls them possibly the wings of a triptych by a Franco-Flemish disciple of Dieric Bouts, inspired by his Justice of Emperor Otto in Brussels [Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts]; notes that although their subjects may be related to saints venerated in northern France, they are not characteristic of the art of that region; questions whether the martyrdom of Saint Quentin is a subject here.

Grete Ring. A Century of French Painting 1400–1500. London, 1949, p. 221, no. 189, believes they come from the workshop of Simon Marmion and probably represent Saints Adrian and Quentin.

Charles Sterling. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of French Paintings. Vol. 1, XV–XVIII Centuries. Cambridge, Mass., 1955, pp. 13–16, ill., dates them about 1480 and suggests that the artist may have been a Dutchman working in northern France under the influence of Marmion; tentatively identifies the subject of MMA 22.60.57 as the martyrdoms of Saints Ache and Acheul, both from the region of Amiens and the subject of particular veneration in the Augustinain order; suggests that the young man standing at left reading from a book supported by an angel may be one of the local saints of Amiens, possibly Saint Quentin or Saint Firmin; remarks that our pictures are reported to have come from the Augustinian abbey of Eaucourt, near Bapaume, in the ancient diocese of Amiens.

Louis Réau. Iconographie de l'art chrétien. Vol. 3, Iconographie des Saints. Paris, 1958, pt. 1, pp. 16, 24.

Charles Sterling. "La Pietà de Tarascon et les peintres Dombet." Revue du Louvre et des musées de France 16, no.1 (1966), pp. 24, 26.