Francisco Collantes
St. Paul the Hermit

17th century
Oil on canvas
Prado Museum, Madrid

Paul wears his usual garment of plaited palm leaves. The raven carrying bread is his attribute. In the background is the cave that was his hermitage, and in front of the cave are the two lions that will help St. Anthony bury him.

The crown and sceptre on the ground should suggest that the saint had foregone a kingly status to take up the contemplative life. But all that Jerome says of Paul's background is that he was "heir to a rich inheritance, highly skilled in both Greek and Egyptian learning."

The Web Gallery of Art identifies this as St. Onuphrius, who also wore a garment of leaves. But it was an angel who brought Onuphrius his daily bread, and he is not associated with lions.

More of St. Paul the Hermit

Source: Web Gallery of Art via Wikimedia Commons