Picture of St. Bruno from the Vilnius St. Bernardine church Cover Image

Šv. Brunono paveikslas iš Vilniaus Bernardinų bažnyčios
Picture of St. Bruno from the Vilnius St. Bernardine church

Author(s): Rūta Janonienė
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, Visual Arts, 17th Century
Published by: Lietuvos mokslų akademijos leidykla

Summary/Abstract: A painting of the 17th century, which was in the St. Bernardine church in Vilnius (now it is stored at the Lithuanian Museum of Art) is discussed. This work was not given thorough studies. The author corrects its name, identifying that St. Bruno (1032-1101), the founder of the Carthusian order, in Lithuanian religious art is rarely painted. The circumstances (establishment of a Carthusian monastery in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the middle of the 17th c., the spread of St. Bruno's iconography in Europe and Lithuania, a similarity between portraits of St. Bruno and St. Francis of Assisi) that influenced the appearance of this work are analyzed. According to iconographical and literary sources, as well as studies of St. Bruno iconography published earlier, the main plot of the painting ("The funeral of Paris' theologian"), the saints' attributes (a star, an open book, a monstrance, a fountain) and their symbolic meaning are discussed. The counter-reformational content of the painting is pointed out. The scene from the saint's legend and other symbols representing human wisdom and glory (a theologian of Paris is identified with Protestant religion) are in contrast with the real, divine wisdom and piety (Carthusians represent Catholic Church). Considering the relations of Carthusians with the Sapiehas (they were the main patrons of this order), an assumption is made that this picture, like the other two from the so-called Bernardines' cycle ("The death of St. Francis" and "The miracles of St. Didacus") might have been intended to decorate the funeral of one from the Sapiehas.

  • Issue Year: 2002
  • Issue No: 3(28)
  • Page Range: 3-8
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: Lithuanian