Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Saint Christopher Carrying Christ

Made in Lower Bavaria (Valley of the Danube), Germany
56 1/2 × 19 1/2 × 14 1/2 in., 72 lb. (143.5 × 49.5 × 36.8 cm, 32658.986g)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1973
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 20
According to legend, Saint Christopher devoted his life to carrying the weak and poor across a river. One night, when he was carrying a child, 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. The widespread cult of Saint Christopher stemmed largely from the belief that gazing on his image would protect the faithful from storms and other threats in their travels.
Although not fully carved in the round, this figure was probably intended as an independent work to be placed on a console or against a pier. It is executed in a highly expressive and animated style, with the saint looking intensely at his youthful burden, while his hands rest 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.
Mrs. George Trubner, New York (from at least 1940–until 1972) ; Henry Trubner, New York (sold 1973, through R. H. Ellsworth Ltd. )
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Patterns of Collecting," December 6, 1975–March 23, 1976.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One Hundred First Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1972 through June 30, 1973." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 103 (1973). p. 46.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art) no. 1965/1975 (1975). p. 151.

Raggio, Olga, ed. Patterns of Collecting: Selected Acquisitions, 1965-1975; Explanatory Texts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. p. 17.

Wixom, William D. "Medieval Sculpture at The Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 46, no. 3 (Winter 1988-1989). p. 54.

Fisher, Sally. The Square Halo and Other Mysteries of Western Art: Images and the Stories that Inspire Them. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995. p. 130.

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