Abraham Bloemaert: Four fathers of the Latin Church venerating the Eucharist (1632)


(Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

A painting by the Dutch artist Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651). This painting shows four catholic saints who are known as ' fathers of the church'. Church fathers were generally influential Christian theologians whose teachings greatly influenced the various churches (Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy etc). The four men depicted here known as the 'Great Church (Latin) Fathers of the Western Church' . Depicted from left to right:

- Pope Saint Gregory I ' the Great' (A.D. 540 – 604), today best known for the 'Gregorian chant' which is named after him. Gregory greatly influenced the doctrine, the organization, and the discipline of the Catholic Church. The cope which the saint is wearing is that of David of Burgundy, bishop of Utrecht (1427 - 1496)

- Saint Jerome of Stridon (A.D. 347 – 420). Best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate).

- Saint Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354 – 430), bishop of Hippo (now Annaba in Algeria)

- Saint Ambrose of Milan (A.D. 340 – 397). Introduced the Ambrosian chant (also known as the antiphonal chant) and also a very influential writer.

All four are venerating the Eucharist which is shown here as an altar upon a monstrance and and sacramental bread are placed. Above the altar are angels which contains the sacrament of the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit. The painting, it is most likely an altarpiece, derives from an engraving of Bloemaert from 1629 and the unknown patron probably commissioned it having seen and enjoyed the design in the print. As the Netherlands was protestant by this time, this catholic painting (protestant don't believe in the Eucharist) is unusual. Painting from 1632.

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