Girolamo dai Libri: Madonna with Saints (1520)
(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA)
A large painting by the Italian artist Girolamo dai Libri (1474-1555). dhis scene was originally created for the high altar of the Augustinian church of San Leonardo nel Monte outside Verona, Italy and was commissioned by either the Cartieri or the Cartolari family in Verona. In the center of the painting is a Madonna (a depiction of Mary with her child Jesus). She is sitting underneath an enormous laurel tree and a dead tree next to it which has a peacock on one of its branches - the flourishing laurel tree, the dead tree and the peacock are probably a symbol of death and resurrection (a peacock is a symbol of immortality and the laurel tree is a symbol of Chastity or eternal life). Standing in front of Mary and the Christ child are 4 saints. From left to right they are:
- Saint Catherine of Alexandria with a book and a martyr's palm. She is one of the 14 Holy Helpers (against sudden death and the plague) and is the patron saint of unmarried girls, apologists, craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters, spinners), archivists, dying people, educators, girls, jurists, knife sharpeners, lawyers, librarians etc
- Saint Leonard of Noblac, an abbot who is holding chains. He is the patron saint of prisoners, horses, cattle and farmers.
- group of 3 angels making music
- Saint Augustine of Hippo. A Doctor of the Church and the patron saint of brewers, printers and theologians
- Saint Apollonia of Alexandria with a martyr's palm and pincers (the instrument of her martyrdom). She is the patron saint of Dentists and tooth problems.
The mountain with the city in the left background is copied from a drawing of Saint Eustace by Albrecht Dürer. Painting from 1520.