Jan Joesten van Hillegom: Four Benedictine saints (1529-1530)

(Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands)

Jan Joesten van Hillegom or Jan Joostsz. van Hillegom (1475-after 1534) was a Dutch painter who worked in Haarlem. He is only known from documents from the abby of Egmond were he stayed as a 'provenier' (someone who payed a fee for a single time and in return enjoyed 'free' room and board for the rest of his life). This painting is on of 2 which are attributed to him. The painting consists of 2 outer panels from a alterpiece. The scene depicts 4 saints from the order of Saint Benedict. From left to right:

- Saint Boniface (A.D. 675-754), the 'Apostle of the Germans'. He was an important missionary and reorganized and regulate the church. He was killed by the Frisians in 754. Boniface is depicted in his usual way: as a bishop and with a bible and sword (reference to his death - he tried to protect himself with a bible when the Frisians killed him)
- Pope Saint Gregory I 'the Great'. A very important saint. Gregory was pope from A.D. 590-604 and reorganized the Christian worship. For his work he is reconnized as a Doctor of the Church and one of the Latin Fathers of the Church. He is the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers and is depicted as a pope
- Saint Aldelbert of Egmond. A missionary and a companion of Saint Willibrord during his missionary work in Holland and Frisia. 
- Saint Jeroen of Noordwijk. A priest and missionary who also preached in Holland. He was killed by the vikings when they attacked Noordwijk were Saint Jerome had founded a church. Saint Jeroen is a patron saint of finding things and is depicted with a sword (the weapon which killed him) and a falcon (according to stories he was of noble birth).

Painting from around 1529-1530.

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