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September 24, 2015

Spot the Saint
Posted by Teresa at 09:50 PM * 65 comments

This splendid piece of late-medieval woodcarving by Tilman Riemenschneider shows the Fourteen Holy Helpers, also known as the Viersehn Heilegen or the Auxiliary Saints. As we’ve remarked here before, they’re more or less the Avengers of the Late Middle Ages. The game is to figure out who’s who.

To see a much larger version of the sculpture group, go here. (It’s part of this blogpost.)

Riemenschneider Holy Helpers.jpg

Playing Spot the Saint with a Holy Helpers group is always a challenge. You’ve got your normal kind of problems: bishop saints tend to all look alike, people living far inland were confused by that object Saint Erasmus travels with, and one Saint Cyriacus is always being mistaken for another.

With the Fourteen Holy Helpers, there’s also the question of who was in the team lineup for that issue. A fairly standard lineup would be Acacius/Agathius, Barbara, Blaise, Catherine of Alexandria, Christopher, Cyriacus, Denis/Dionysius, Erasmus/Elmo, Eustace, George, Giles/Egidius/Aegidius, Margaret of Antioch, Pantaleon/Panteleimon, and Vitus.

However, saints in the normal lineup could be swapped for others. The Oxford Dictionary of Saints lists the potential replacements as SS. Anthony Abbot (Anthony the Anchorite), Leonard of Noblac, Nicholas of Myra, Sebastian, and Roch or Rocco. To these, Wikipedia adds SS. Apollonia, Dorothea of Caesarea, Oswald the King, Pope Sixtus II, and Wolfgang of Regensburg.

On top of that, Riemenschneider’s sculpture group only has thirteen saints in it. So: who’s who, and how can you tell? Any idea who’s missing, or where in the group they’re missing from? What else do we know about the missing figure?

Have fun, split hairs, drag in interesting data you’ve run across. The usual.

Please refrain from posting the complete answer in clear as the first comment in the thread. In fact, please refrain from posting any answers in clear until the fluorosphere’s chewed on things for a while. You can get the same murmurs of astonishment out of the rest of us by posting answers in ROT-13. The point at which this ceases to be necessary I leave to your own good judgement.

Comments on Spot the Saint:
#1 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2015, 10:06 PM:

Gur thl pneelvat gur puvyq vf Fnvag Puevfgbcure, fheryl? Naq Fnvag Trbetr frpbaq sebz evtug. Cbffvoyl Fnvag Uryran yrsg bs gur orneqrq thl va gur zvqqyr sebag?

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2015, 10:19 PM:

Puevfgbcure is pretty obvious. The rest? Got me: I'd have to spend time looking up attributes. (I see two, no, three miters.)

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2015, 10:20 PM:

I do have to say that Riemenschneider was a heck of a carver. It can't be easy getting draperies right in wood.

#4 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2015, 10:23 PM:

I count 14?

I'm far too unknowledgeable on the subject to play properly but

Tbbtyr gryyf zr gur evtug sebag urnqyrff thl vf Qravf/Qvbalfhf

And I've already been down the rabbit hole of "what linguistic slide makes Erasmus the same name as Elmo, there was a saint named Elmo? who'd of thunk it, oh wait, yes Saint Elmo's fire, I knew that"

#5 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2015, 10:28 PM:

I've never played this game before (and know almost nothing about saints), but a little googling leads me to believe that gur zvgrerq prcunybcuber ba gur evtug vf cebonoyl Fg. Qravf. Vavgvnyyl, V qvqa'g frr uvf arpx, naq gubhtug gur thl oruvaq uvz jnf gur bar ubyqvat gur urnq, juvpu qvqa'g znxr frafr.

#6 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2015, 10:33 PM:

I count thirteen, unless the baby is fourteen. Is it a baby saint? I don't know saints well enough to know!

#7 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2015, 11:17 PM:

Fade@6 - I agree with Aquila@4 on the count being 14 (gur thl ba gur evtug vf ubyqvat n urnq, cerfhznoyl bs nabgure fnvag, though I'm clueless about who so I'll defer to his answer.)

#8 ::: tnv ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2015, 11:31 PM:

Gur jbzna fnvag jvgu gur phc zhfg or Oneonen, naq gur bar jvgu gur fjbeq vf yvxryl Pngurevar bs Nyrknaqevn, vs Jvxvcrqvn vf gb or oryvrirq gung vf bar bs ure nggevohgrf.

Can anyone tell what the female saint at the far left is holding in her hand? Even on zoom-in, I can only tell that it's something small. A piece of bread, maybe?

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:02 AM:

You only have to encrypt the names.

There are thirteen saints.

=====

P J Evans, late medieval (sometimes edging over into early Renaissance) woodcarving is amazing. It gets left out of a lot of art history surveys because it doesn't fit into the "psychological and anatomical realism in art developed during the Renaissance" narrative. Also, the intense religious content makes some people uncomfortable.

Riemenschneider's the show-stopper, though he didn't work in a vacuum. Here's another one of his, a group of women at the crucifixion.

I'd show you my favorite Riemenschneider to date, but it's a group of three surviving figures from another Holy Helper group, so this is exactly the wrong moment for it.

Instead, here's another fun thing you get from that period: insane boxwood microcarvings. (Another. And another.)

It's our common heritage. And it's wonderful.

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:14 AM:

9
I understand boxwood is really good for fine carvings, and things like woodblocks for printing. Something about the way the grain runs, or maybe doesn't run.

The Riemenschneider I saw was a picture in Jansen's History of Art, lo these many years ago.

#11 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:22 AM:

Fg Phguoreg, far right.

#12 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:22 AM:

I count 15 human heads. One is an infant's, so I assume the infant is an attribute and that the mitered head on the right is detached and counts as an attribute also.

#13 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:24 AM:

I can see my copy of Jansen's from here, but I can no longer reach it unassisted, and Patrick's gone to bed.

Getting old sucks.

#14 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:24 AM:

Note: Riemenschneider can apparently mean Thong-Cutter, which cracks me up. (Though if you pick the right definitions, you can get "oar carver," which is more appropriate.)

#15 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:28 AM:

I think the one with the deer would be Tvyrf?

#16 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:34 AM:

Teresa, I only count 13 saint names in your "standard lineup" -- unless one of the multiple names separated by a slash is supposed to be two names?

I know nothing of this game, but I'd guess Ivghf vf gur bar jvgu gur unaqf nobir uvf urnq, qnapvat.

#17 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:36 AM:

I think the fourteenth saint vf rivqrag va bar bs gur guvegrra'f unaq.

Juvpu jbhyq znxr uvz Fg Qravf (jub unf n tybevbhf eryvp va Abger Qnzr)

#18 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:40 AM:

Re the wood carving: one of the tricks is to keep the tools wicked sharp, because woodgrain is both cranky, and prone to stealing motion. If one's tools aren't sharp (and smooth) the line of cut will move to follow the line of the grain.

When I sharpen woodworking tools, they get the smoothest of stones, and then the finest of leather honings (wax impregnated with the finest of jeweler's rouge on smoothly finished vegetable leathers).

#19 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 01:48 AM:

Correct, Don Simpson.

=====

Did I leave someone out of the list? Let me check ...

#20 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 01:51 AM:

Well, damn. I left Eustace out of the list. Let me put him back in.

#21 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 01:54 AM:

Tom, the question is, jung'f gung fgvpxvat hc guebhtu uvf unaqf?

#22 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 03:29 AM:

It may be the case of me knowing just enough German to be wrong, or that it's not German, but shouldn't that be "Vierzehnheiligen"?

#23 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 06:49 AM:

In modern German that would be "Vierzehn Heilegen" with a zed. Is the 's' more common in medieval dialects?

#24 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 08:30 AM:

I think the crowned lady with the chalice, fourth from left, is Fg Oneonen. The other crowned lady on the left is I think Fg Pngurevar bs Nyrknaqevn.

Obviously, the ones that will be difficult to identify are the two gentlemen with Bishop's mitres. I can see no other identifying marks. Then there's the second armoured figure on the left. Should be distinctive, for he looks like a child in stature, but who?

And if the lady at the extreme left is holding aunaqxrepuvrs - I can't tell, sbe vg zvtug or gur pybnx bs gur nezbherq svther va sebag bs ure - it's Fg Irebavpn.

#25 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 09:07 AM:

I have never, ever, correctly identified Anthony Abbot. Even knowing he's the trick wildcard, I still never think of him.

My system of assuming every otherwise unidentified bishop is St Zenobius occasionally pays off (in Florence at least) but Anthony Abbot is just cheating.

Particularly good Aegidius above, I thought. Nice Blaize too.

#26 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 09:18 AM:

I agree with those who think there are fourteen saints. At first I couldn't see how there could be (the baby is definitely an attribute), but then I read Jeremy Leader's comment @5, and looked at the head-bearing saint on the right in the expanded version.

Fg Qravf is said to have given rise to the saying 'Pr a'rfg dhr yr cerzvre cnf dhv pbhgr'.

#27 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 09:26 AM:

Dave Luckett @24: Your second armored saint appears to be holding a cow's head.

Or, that's what it looks like to me. Might be diagnostic.

#28 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 09:27 AM:

Armoured figure on left is Rhfgnpr, I think: he is holding the stag's head which figures in his legend.

#29 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 10:28 AM:

I'm just amused/annoyed that the Medieval Avengers have better female representation (3/14) than the modern ones (at least the current movie crew: 1/6).

#30 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 10:47 AM:

Could the Viersehn Heilegen beat the Muses in a fair fight?

#31 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:40 PM:

Paul Herzberg: I have no German.

Lila: 3/14, and their core-group Big Three are those same three explosive virgin martyrs.

Jo: How to spot Anthony Abbot: old, bearded, head covered or bald (no tonsure). Look for: pigs, bells, ravens, desert, tau cross (may look like a crutch), extravagant scenes of temptation, hanging out with Paul the Hermit, preaching to animals (but not a Franciscan).

Distinguishing Anthony Abbot from Anthony of Padua: not tonsured, not beardless, not a Franciscan, not holding lilies, not doing impromptu babysitting for the Blessed Virgin.

It's Zenobius if: has miter and/or crosier; is in Florence. If he's hanging out with SS. Lawrence and Peter Martyr, you are in Florence.

Is there any chance you've got memory interference happening between Anthony Abbot and Peter Martyr?

#32 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 12:43 PM:

Bill Higgins: I think they could, but I can't yet explain why.

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 01:01 PM:

I amused myself by visiting Wikipedia last evening. These are the 'fourteen angels' of Humperdinck's 'Hansel und Gretel'?

#34 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 02:40 PM:

OK -- the only ones I recognize are George and Christopher.

Question -- are all the ladies Queens as well as Saints?

#35 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 02:53 PM:

Hands up anyone who saw the title of this post in an RSS reader and automatically clicked on Ex Urbe to get a better look?

#36 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 03:03 PM:

Dave Crisp, it's a case of convergent evolution. Ada and I and Jim Macdonald have all separately been calling it Spot the Saint since forever.

I've never asked Abi Sutherland, but I'll be more surprised if she hasn't also been calling it that.

#37 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 03:06 PM:

Lori Coulson@34: I think the crowns signify martyrdom.

#38 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 03:12 PM:

So we seem to have likely identifications of:
Qravf
Trbetr
Tvyrf
Puevfgbcure
Oneonen
Pngurevar
Rhfgnpr

The woman who isn't Oneonen or Pngurevar is most probably Znetnerg, but I'm not able to read the iconography for her.

No idea about any of the others.

#39 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 03:46 PM:

TNH @ 36: Just to be clear, I wasn't in any way implying that you were copying Ada. It was more a wry comment on an unusual Pavlovian response I seem to have developed.

#40 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 04:51 PM:

I got three of them on first glance, but I have to think about the rest. Aargh. Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe puzzles?

#41 ::: Stanoje ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 05:20 PM:

Paul Herzberg @ 22. Yep.

It's either "Die Vierzehnheiligen" - The Fourteen Saints, unusually written as a compound word, or "Die Vierzehn Nothelfer" - The Fourteen Holy Helpers (more literally, helpers in time of need).

Maybe the original post can be amended/corrected with the proper spelling?

#42 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 05:45 PM:

Looking at the thing in close-up, it looks very much as if Qravf is actually carrying his own frirerq urnq there - you can see the arpx fghzc behind it - so I'm wondering if the guy behind that is wearing a dalmatic, which would make him dressed as a deacon, so possibly Fg Plevnphf.

If I'm right about the arrangement, it suggests we've got the full set of fourteen (that is, what looks like Qravf is actually Plevnphf standing behind Qravf).

(I can't help wondering if rot13.com now thinks I'm some sort of psychopath for typing those things into it.)

#43 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2015, 06:17 PM:

Steve Wright: I think you are correct about it being an arrangement of fourteen and not just thirteen.

#44 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 12:08 AM:

I'd be willing to bet that the character in the front, with the book and the dog, is Fg. Qbzvavp. Just a guess, though, based on the old Qbzvav Pnarf pun . . .

#45 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 12:33 AM:

Huh. I take it back, maybe. It turns out that a dog (usually offering bread) is also an attribute of Ebppb. I should have known that. Don't know where the book comes in, though.

#46 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 01:34 AM:

HelenS @1: Yes on the first, yes on the second, no on the third. The guy with the child on his shoulder is St. Christopher, and the knight in armor who's killing a dragon is St. George, but St. Helena doesn't hang out with this bunch.

Aquila @4: Yes, that's St. Denis carrying his own head.

Erasmus turning into Elmo is no big deal. Folkloric saints get up to all kinds of nonsense. As you move north, St. Vitus becomes St. Guy. Eustatius or Eustachius turns into Eustace, which is okay; but when he morphed into Uberto, his story started to merge into the previously respectable life of St. Hubert of Maastricht. And you should see what happened to SS. Acacius, Barbara, and Wilgefortis when they reached the Western Hemisphere.

Jeremy Leader @5, you're also right about St. Denis.

This game has no hard and fast rules, aside from "have fun" and "say interesting things."

Fade Manley @6, there are baby saints, but the baby on St. Christopher's shoulder is an accessory.

Bill Stewart @7, St. Denis always carries his own head. It's an ingenious theory, but that just doesn't happen. Or it sometimes happens, as when pious Anglo-Saxons shlepped the remains of SS. Oswald and Cuthbert from one location to another during the Viking incursions; but that wasn't iconographic, just literal.

tnv @8, you are correct; the woman with the cup is St. Barbara, and the one with the sword is Catherine of Alexandria.

The woman at the very far left is holding what looks like a fragment of round dowel in her hand. That's not what it is. Since the statue is damaged there, I'll tell you that it was most likely the lower arm of a wooden cross.

Dave Luckett @11, I wish it were St. Cuthbert carrying the head of St. Oswald, but alas, it isn't.

Don Simpson @12: You're right. The infant and the severed heads are attributes, not teammates.

HelenS @15: Which one? Two of those saints have deer.

Tom Whitmore @16: It's an informal and improvisatory game.

The one with his hands up over his head isn't dancing.

Terry @17, that is St. Denis's head, but it's being held by St. Denis.

I'd know more if I could see the back of the piece, but I honestly think there's a figure missing. It might have been at either end of the group, but there's an uncharacteristically wide gap between St. Denis and the guy in the miter who's just to the left of St. George. You can also see cracks running down through the wood at that point, and Miter Guy has a stabilizing piece of hardware hooked over his shoulder.

Paul Herzberg @22, oldster @23, I'll fix that as soon as I'm done with these replies.

Dave Luckett @24, The woman fourth from the left is indeed St. Barbara, and the woman with the sword is St. Catherine of Alexandria. However, the woman at the far left is not St. Veronica, because St. Veronica isn't one of the Holy Helpers. This saint is missing her most important attribute, but her identity should still be guessable. Just ask yourself who hangs out with St. Barbara and St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Jo Walton @25: Those are nice.

AndrewM @26: Honest, there are thirteen.

Elliott Mason @27: The animal head the second armored saint is holding isn't a cow; it's broken. You can see an unbroken version of it on the label of a bottle of Jaegermeister.

AndrewM @28: Very good. The second guy in armor is St. Eustace. That's an odd depiction of him. Usually if one of the helpers other than George is wearing armor, it's Acacius. Eustace is commonly dressed as a hunter. But he's holding his stag's head, which pretty much nails it.

Bill Higgins @30, I think the Holy Helpers could beat the Muses in a fair fight because the Muses' main power is to inspire people to be better at what they do. St. Catherine of Alexandria supposedly bested fifty philosophers in simultaneous debates without the Muses' help. If she did have their help -- if they gave it to her before they realized what they were doing -- I can only imagine the resulting flood of language would sweep all before it.

=====

I'm not done, but it's way too late, so I'll go to bed now and pick this up tomorrow.

Good night, all --

#47 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 01:47 AM:

Now I totally want to see the 14 Holy Helpers take on the minions of Satan as a Disney/Marvel superhero film. Follow-up: the 14HH vs. The Avengers.

#48 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 02:21 AM:

46
You have to go to the big image and zoom in to see the hardware - I noticed the hardware, but didn't twig to the missing saint.

#49 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 02:21 AM:

Teresa: I am counting fourteen. From left to right, naming no names:

1. Woman with a crown, holding something in her right hand.
2. Curly-haired man in armor, holding a deer's head.
3. Man with a pageboy wearing a hat.
4. Crowned woman holding a chalice.
5. Man with a bishop's miter.
6. Crowned woman holding a sword.
7. Man with hands over head (is he drawing a sword from behind his back? Is he grabbing the hilt of a sword stuck in his head?)
8. Man giving Baby Jesus a piggyback ride.
9. Long-haired man with fancy clothes.
10. Balding man carrying a book, with a small animal (not clear to me if it's a fawn or a dog).
11. Another man with a bishop's miter.
12. Man in full armor, standing atop some sort of beast.
13. Man with a neck stump, holding his own severed head (with a bishop's miter atop it).
14. Curly-haired man in simple clothing.

In the small views, the bodies of #13 and #14 sort of merge together, and from the angle at which the picture is taken it looks plausible that the arm holding the head could belong to the curly-haired man. But if you go to the large view, and enlarge it further, and look closely, it becomes clear that this isn't the case.

#50 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 05:08 AM:

David Goldfarb's 3 and 9 both look like they could be late-mediaeval professional people, to me - which would make sense, as one of the 14HH is a physician, and another is a lawyer.

But... which is which? Can anyone versed in the minutiae of mediaeval professional garments chime in on this? Which one is Matt Murdock and which one is Don Blake?

#51 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 01:13 PM:

Andrew M @37:

I've thought of another possibility on the crowns -- the ladies in question are "Virgins" which, of course, doesn't narrow the field as to their identities.

There ARE Queens that are saints, Margaret of Scotland and Elizabeth of Hungary, and Radegund as well.

#52 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 02:20 PM:

The crowns could show the ladies are Martyrs. Two are pretty obvious from their usual attributes.

#53 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 02:44 PM:

Besides being a genius carver anyway, Grinling Gibbons upped the game in English wood carving by bringing over from the Netherlands the habit of using lime wood as a medium. The traditional English choice was oak, not easy to make leaves and flowers with.

#54 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 04:08 PM:

The dude with his hands over his head might be trying to chyy n pbzo bhg bs uvf unve, which would make him Oynvfr.

#55 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 04:50 PM:

I know very little about saints (though I do quite like Saint Cuthbert and have been to Lindisfarne) and was somewhat disappointed to read the comments and have the neck-stump-carrying-own-head person pointed out, because I'd missed the neck stump and was pleased that the guy on the end with the curly hair was surreptitiously assassinating one of the other guys via neck-breaking.

Visions of saints progresssing via Discworldian Wizard collegiate tactics dashed, I'm going to hie me to Google to read about these people.

#56 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 07:19 PM:

@55: Wow. I had interpreted it as curly-hair carrying someone else's severed head, but upon looking closer, you're right, there is a headless (but still standing upright) body *in front* of curly-hair which is carrying its *own* severed (mitered) head.

Which seems to me to mean they ought to be counted separately for a total of 14, not counting the baby. (Concurring in David Goldfarb's list of descriptions without names, except I think the animal might be a pig, or a shorn lamb.)

As far as naming specifics, I have nowhere near the level of saint lore required to make a complete list, but the mitered guy you can barely see (just left of the guy with his hands on his head and behind a crowned woman) and the mitered guy with no visible distinguishing characteristics other than the miter (left of the plumed helmet) are probably going to be the hardest ones even for people who do know specific saints well, just because you have so very little to go on compared to the saints that make the front row.

The tall curly-haired guy to the right of the baby and the curly-haired guy at the far right behind St. Decapitated seem like they would be difficult to tell apart, too, even if you know which 2 non-bishops aren't accounted for. Unless the open-fronted jacket with something rufflike is a clue that I can't interpret. At least it suggests he wasn't a peasant, which may be something.

P.S. Is the fact that the guy with the baby appears to be up to his ankles in mud a clue, or just the artist thinking feet were hard to sculpt? Or some cultural prohibition against showing bare feet, even of saints whose poverty would make footwear implausible/out of character?

#57 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 07:55 PM:

"P.S. Is the fact that the guy with the baby appears to be up to his ankles in mud a clue, or just the artist thinking feet were hard to sculpt?"

It's a clue.

#58 ::: Rail ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 08:10 PM:

The guy with his hands over his head looks a lot like a stained glass of Fg. Cnagnyrba.

#59 ::: Richard Hershberger ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 10:53 PM:

For those of you who appreciate late medieval/early Renaissance wood carving (and if you don't, what the hell is wrong with you?) I commend a visit to the Walter's Art Museum in Baltimore. Indeed, it is even worth a side trip if you are in Washington or Philadelphia, which of course both have splendid art museums. Messrs. Walters, pere et fils, either had or (more likely) purchased excellent taste. The collection includes the Rubens vase (quite startling the first time I saw it, as a perfectly familiar object I had never expected to actually see) and a crystal bishop's crozier that, were I to see it at a RenFaire, would induce eye-rolling, but which turns out to be authentic to the 13th century. There is a carved wood alter piece that is about fifteen or twenty feet long and magnificent. I have been known to visit simply to sit in front of it for a spell.

Did I mention that admission is free? And no, this does not result in the place being packed, because Baltimore is by and large a cultural wasteland and they don't know what they have there. I don't live in Baltimore, but my church is downtown, and I will sneak over to the Walters afterwards when I have the chance.

#60 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2015, 11:36 PM:

57
That's one of the more familiar saints, too.

#61 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2015, 02:43 AM:

Rail @58:

I have released the comment. And yes, it was the URL shortener. We treat them as suspicious around these parts, because they so often are.

#62 ::: Rail ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2015, 08:43 AM:

Idumea Arbacoochee @61: Thank you! Cookies?

#63 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2015, 03:17 PM:

Spouse's first identification, after Trbetr, was Ebpu at the center (one of the cvytevz saints); I think he even has gur fber ba uvf yrt, although it's hard to tell from the picture.

I always feel like I should know more of the saint spotting vocabulary than I do; but, aside from a few saints that I've paid particular attention to for one reason or another, most of my study of saints was eclectic, text-based, and 20–30 years ago. Once I remember that I find it much easier to relax and enjoy the game. And the amazing images!

#64 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2015, 10:41 AM:

None of them look much like Simon Templar.

#65 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2015, 04:04 PM:

I don't really know many saints, but here are my initial thoughts, before reading anyone else's comments:

One is easy. The one wading with a child on his back is my namesake.

Two armored figures, one much shorter than the other. The taller one has his spear through the head of some creature; I'd say that one's probably George.

Three crowned women, one with a sword, one with a cup. Don't recognize them.

Three bishops, two in the background and one carrying his own severed head. I probably should recognize the third, but don't. Incidentally, the count in the original post is wrong; the bishop with the severed head is #14, who in the small version isn't clearly distinct from the figure behind him.

Five others I don't recognize. One is carrying a book and has a lamb (?) with him. Another appears to have his hands nailed to his head - a distinctive martyrdom? The other three, all in the back, have no particularly good identifying features.

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