Skip to main content

Simon Marmion, The Soul of Saint Bertin carried up to God

Key facts
Full title The Soul of Saint Bertin carried up to God: From Right Hand Shutter
Artist Simon Marmion
Artist dates active 1449; died 1489
Series Fragments of Shutters from the St Bertin Altarpiece
Date made about 1459
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 57.7 × 20.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1860
Inventory number NG1302
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Soul of Saint Bertin carried up to God
Simon Marmion

Two angels carry a small, naked figure upwards. Below is part of a roof; above, God the Father sits on a Gothic throne, ringed by angels with multiple wings. This is the top part of the right wing of an altarpiece that stood on the high altar of the Abbey of St Bertin in Saint-Omer, northern France.

The naked figure is the soul of Saint Bertin, whose death scene originally appeared immediately below. On the back, the top part of a Gothic stone canopy is painted in grisaille (in shades of black, white and grey), identical to that on the other wing, A Choir of Angels. When the wings were closed, the canopies would have have covered up the gilded silver Crucifixion in the centre of the shrine.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

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.

Download low-resolution image

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

Creative Commons Logo

Fragments of Shutters from the St Bertin Altarpiece


These two paintings – The Soul of Saint Bertin carried up to God and A Choir of Angels – were once the upper parts of the wings of an elaborate altarpiece that was made for the high altar of the abbey church of St Bertin at Saint-Omer in northern France. It was commissioned by Guillaume Fillastre, Abbot of St Bertin, and was consecrated in 1459.

The wings are thought to have been painted at Valenciennes, where Simon Marmion was almost certainly the leading painter; he had moved there from Amiens between 1454 and 1458. The main parts of the wings are now in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. On the inside these show Fillastre himself with scenes from the life of Saint Bertin. The central section is known only from written descriptions, but was in the shape of an inverted ‘T’ and was made of gold, gilded silver and copper, rock crystal, diamonds and other precious stones.