Description Medieval medicine offered few cures. Christians focused their hopes for recovery from illness or accident on their prayers to saints to intercede for them with God. Saints Cosmas and Damian, Protasius and Gervasius, were two pairs of twin brothers who were invoked for their healing of the sick. The statues are from the hospital complex at Abbeville, built between 1484 and 1492, where they may have stood in niches at the entrance to the church. The vigorous modeling and realistic details- as in the variety in their facial expressions- are made more vivid by the use of color and give credibility to the saints' humanity. Their size, relative to the sick at their feet, conveys their superhuman powers, while the clerical garments lend them authority. The stocky proportions are typical of French sculpture of the late 15th century. According to legend, Protasius and his twin brother, Gervasius, were martyred in Milan in the mid 2nd century. They were said to be responsible for many miraculous cures, and here St. Protasius ministers to a humpbacked man seated at his feet.
- Vive la France! French Treasures from the Middle Ages to Monet. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1999-2000.
Provenance Hôtel-Dieu, Abbeville, prior to 1904 [from the hospital demolished in 1904]; Dikran Kelekian, Paris [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1912, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1912
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