Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 08

Contrary to iconographic convention, Saint Lawrence here appears in supplication, amid bands of fire, rather than stretched out on the grill. This representation reflects the writings of both saints Augustine and Ambrose, which relate that Lawrence conquered the fire without—shown here licking at his feet—with the three fires within: those inflamed by the ardor of faith, the love of Christ, and the true knowledge of God, which are represented here by the bands of fire at waist and shoulder level and by the column of fire above his head.

The attribution of the panel to Canterbury is based largely on style; its precise location in the cathedral choir has not been determined. The bearded head is not that of Saint Lawrence but came from elsewhere in the same glazing program and was later inserted, probably in the nineteenth century; most of the inscription and much of the architectural framings are recent restorations to complete the panel.

Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, Pot-metal glass, vitreous paint, British

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