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Saint Denis, Holding His Severed Head
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Saint Denis, Holding His Severed Head

Description Provenance Credit
Description Saint Denis is commonly depicted as if alive but holding his severed head, as he is in this striking image. In the mid 3rd century, the pope sent Denis and other missionaries to what is now France to give support to the struggling Christian church there. He and his companion, the deacon Eleutherius, built a church on an island in the middle of the Seine River by the village that became Paris. Their activities angered the Roman governor, who had them decapitated. The veneration of Saint Denis gradually became a national devotion. The simple modeling and use of paint reflect the naturalism of Burgundian sculpture.
Provenance Sam Fogg Gallery, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 2002, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase with funds provided by an anonymous donor, 2002

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1460-1480 (Renaissance)
limestone with traces of polychromy
Accession Number
H: 22 13/16 x W: 8 11/16 x D: 6 11/16 in. (58 x 22 x 17 cm)


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