St. Elizabeth, daughter of the King of Hungary and wife of the Landgrave of Thuringia, was a Franciscan tertiary (Butler, IV, 388). The Golden Legend emphasizes her works of charity, so in images she is often dressed in a Franciscan habit giving food or other assistance to the poor, as in the first picture at right, or in portraits with a basket of bread or flowers, as in the second and third pictures respectively.
The alternation between bread and flowers may be due to a borrowing from the story of St. Casilda, whose Saracen father caught her taking a basket of food to Christian prisoners. When he looked into the basket, he found only roses.
Being of royal birth and marriage, St. Elizabeth is sometimes shown with a crown, such as the very modest one in this fresco.
Prepared in 2014 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University, revised 2015-10-30.