Scenes from the Life of Saint Augustine of Hippo

Master of Saint Augustine Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 305

This painting was the central panel of a triptych dedicated to Saint Augustine (354–430), a Christian theologian so celebrated that he is sometimes called a Doctor of the Church. The composition is divided into five scenes: in the center, Saint Augustine is consecrated bishop of Hippo Regius, a Roman city in present-day Algeria; in the upper left, Saint Augustine is ordained as a priest; in the lower left, Saint Augustine preaches while his mother, Monica, anachronistically says the rosary, a prayer regimen of the late Middle Ages. At the upper right, Saint Augustine converses with a boy who says that filling a hole in the sand with the sea is no more difficult than explaining the Trinity; and in the lower right, Saint Augustine preaches. In the windows behind the altar at the right are kneeling figures of a man and woman, along with coats of arms. Might these be clues to the original place for which the altarpiece was created, or are they pure inventions? Of particular interest in this panel are the detailed and richly depicted varieties of ecclesiastical vestments and altar implements.

#36. Scenes from the Life of Saint Augustine of Hippo

Scenes from the Life of Saint Augustine of Hippo, Master of Saint Augustine (Netherlandish, ca. 1490), Oil, gold, and silver on wood, South Netherlandish

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.