Today’s entry is short and sweet: another awesome saint with a wicked martyrdom! Permettez-moi de vous présenter Saint Denis (Allow me to introduce Saint Denis).
André d’Ypres? (or Flemish painter working in Paris), The Crucifixion of the Parliament of Paris (detail of Saint Denis), between 1449-1453, oil on panel. Musée du Louvre, Paris
Denis lived in the 3rd century and was bishop of Paris. During a period of Christian persecution, he was beheaded. According to legend / Christian tradition, Denis is said to have walked six miles holding his head — preaching a sermon the entire way — and placing his head on the spot where a new basilica was to be built (known as the Basilica of St. Denis… duh). This basilica became the burial place for French kings.
The detail above comes from an altarpiece that once adorned the Grande Chambre du Parlement de Paris, basically the large assembly room in the Parisian parliament. The Crucifixion takes center stage with the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist at the base of the cross surrounded by other Biblical figures. Four additional saints fill the remaining bays, from left to right: Saint Louis (IX), Saint John the Baptist, Saint Denis, and Charlemagne. Remarkably, the painting still has its original frame. Enjoy! [BTW, don’t miss the cute little pup in the lower right hand portion of the panel… and read yesterday’s post if you’re concerned about the skull and crossbones at the base of the cross…]
André d’Ypres? (or Flemish painter working in Paris), The Crucifixion of the Parliament of Paris, between 1449-1453, oil on panel. Musée du Louvre, Paris
Boucicaut Master, Saint Denis (fol. 31v), in Book of Hours (Ms. 2), c. 1410-15, tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment. Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris
Check out other quirky saintly martyrdom stories here.