Skip to main content
Saint Lawrence before the Prefect
Circle of the Master of the Saint Ursula Legend (Cologne)
/

Saint Lawrence, a deacon in the early Christian church in Rome, was executed in AD 258 by the pagan Roman authorities; this painting tells the story of the events that led to his martyrdom.

The Roman prefect Decius ordered Lawrence to hand over the treasures belonging to the Church. Having already distributed these riches among the city’s poor, he gathered them instead, claiming that they were the Church’s greatest treasures. Lawrence, shown here with a large gilded halo and wearing his deacon’s robes, looks towards Decius and gestures towards the people at the bottom of the steps. The group includes a man in ragged robes, perhaps a beggar, and a woman breastfeeding her baby; in the background a disabled man moves towards the group, supported by crutches.

This painting is the fourth in a series of probably seven scenes of the life of Saint Lawrence. It is presumed that they were made for the church of Saint Lawrence in Cologne, but this is not certain.

Key facts
Artist Circle of the Master of the Saint Ursula Legend (Cologne)
Artist dates active late 15th/early 16th century
Full title Saint Lawrence showing the Prefect the Treasures of the Church
Date made about 1510
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 130.2 x 92.7 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Sir Henry Howorth, through the Art Fund, in memory of Lady Howorth, 1922.
Inventory number NG3665
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo