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Stephan Lochner, 'Three Saints', about 1450

Key facts
Full title Saints Matthew, Catherine of Alexandria and John the Evangelist
Artist Stephan Lochner
Artist dates active 1442; died 1451
Date made about 1450
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 68.6 × 58.1 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Queen Victoria at the Prince Consort's wish, 1863
Inventory number NG705
Location Room 25
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Three Saints
Stephan Lochner

Saint Catherine of Alexandria stands among the fragments of the spiked wheel on which she was tortured, which miraculously shattered during her ordeal. She holds a sword, the weapon that eventually killed her. To her left is Saint John the Evangelist, whose symbol of the eagle perches on a rock at his feet; to her right is Saint Matthew, whose symbol of an angel – shown here with large curved wings – crouches by his feet.

This painting once formed the inner face of the left-hand shutter of an altarpiece (its central panel is now lost). The painting on the reverse of this panel is very damaged but it shows Saints Jerome and Gregory on either side of a female saint, possibly Saint Cordula; a figure wearing the robes of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem kneels in the corner. The altarpiece may have been made for a church in Cologne belonging to the religious order dedicated to Saints John and Cordula.

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