Johann Anton Gumpp and Melchior Steidl, The Passion of St. Florian

17th/18th century
Ceiling frescos in the nave
Stift Sankt Florian, Austria

First image: Florian is beaten with cudgels. This and the following images follow the details in the Florian legends quite closely.

Second image: At the order or Aquilinus (on the left in a golden robe) the torturers flay the saint. The legends say it was his scapulae (shoulders or shoulder-blades) that were flayed, but the artist must have decided that posing Florian in this way would be more powerful visually. Aquilinus's throne is flanked by ghostly images of pagan gods.

Third image: Unable to torture Florian into submission, Aquilinus has ordered him tied to a great stone and thrown into the River Enns. The impatient youth who finally pushes the saint off the bridge is on the left in green tunic and purple mantle.

Fourth image: Christ welcomes Florian into Heaven. The saint still has his military armor, boots, and spear; but the spear is now a standard with a red-cross pennon, and in his other hand is a palm branch signifying martyrdom. At Christ's direction, the angel in the middle is about to give Florian his attribute, a bucket. That angel may be the artist's interpretation of the eagle that Christ had sent to guard Florian's body until it could be located and given a proper burial. In an apse fresco of Florian's apotheosis in the church, a similar angel conducts Florian to Christ's throne.

First image in full resolution
Second image in full resolution
Third image in full resolution
Fourth image in full resolution

More of St. Florian

Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.