Saint BenedictSaint Benedict is one of the fathers of monasticism in the West. He was born in Umbria in about 480, and stayed in Rome, but fled the profligate life of the city to Subiaco, where he lived as a hermit. He gradually organised various small communities, and in about 529 established the monastery of Monte Cassino, for which he drew up his Rule.
His Rule was simple and kind, though one of good discipline, and other orders have based themselves on variations of it. In art Saint Benedict is usually shown in his monastic habit with his attributes of a broken cup (which contained poison) and a raven (which removed the poison at Benedict's bidding).
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN