Saint Vincent Ferrer

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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Saint Vincent Ferrer was a Spanish friar and missionary, and a member of the Dominican Order (the religious order founded by Saint Dominic); he was officially declared a saint in 1455. He is shown raising a finger demonstratively: he was known as a passionate preacher whose stirring sermons sometimes led his followers to self-flagellation. Above, Christ is seated in a mandorla (an almond-shaped enclosure) – a traditional way of symbolising heaven. The angels who surround him carry symbols of his suffering and death, and balance on clouds that look sturdy, as though they are carved from stone. Cossa had an interest in sculpture and painting stone; his father was a sculptor and it’s possible that he too practised sculpture. This panel formed the central part of an altarpiece commissioned by Floriano Griffoni for his family’s chapel in the church of San Petronio, the main church in Bologna.

The National Gallery, London



Saint Vincent Ferrer


probably about 1473-5


Egg on poplar


H 153.7 x W 59.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1858

Work type



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