MS M.917/945, pp. 214–215

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St. Andrew

The Netherlands, Utrecht
ca. 1440
7 1/2 x 5 1/8 inches (192 x 130 mm)

Purchased on the Belle da Costa Greene Fund with the assistance of the Fellows, 1963

MS M.917/945, pp. 214–215

Andrew, in the familiar tiled and textiled setting, holds the eponymous X-shaped cross to which he was tied for crucifixion and from which, according to tradition, he preached for two days before succumbing. He has long blond hair and curly beard and wears a bright blue cloak over a crimson robe. In the border below is a bizarre scene of a hairy wildman astride a white goose or swan, drawing a knife across its throat. How this scene might be connected with St. Andrew is unknown.


Suffrages are short prayers to individual saints. As protectors of medieval people, saints were their doctor in plague, their midwife at childbirth, their guardian when traveling, and their nurse during toothache. If the Virgin was the figure to whom one addressed the all-important petition for eternal salvation, it was from saints that one sought more basic or temporal kinds of help. While the Virgin became, as the Mother of God, almost a goddess herself, saints retained more of their humanity and thus their approachability.


Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern