Saint Louis the King and St. Anthony of Padua Interceding for the Souls in Purgatory
Location: Church of St. Francis, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Date: After 1667, when the original church was destroyed by fire
Oil on canvas
St. Louis is identified by his military garb and by the crown between him and St. Anthony. The latter is identified by his beardless face, Franciscan habit, and distinctive tonsure.
In the Christ Child's hands is a scapular, usually a sign of affiliation with the Carmelite order and of devotion to the Virgin Mary. The scapular is worn beneath the clothing, hanging from the neck. It was adopted by countless lay people in the post-Tridentine period, starting in the late 16th century and continuing even into the 20th.1
Considering the scapular in the Christ Child's hands and the souls in Purgatory below, one might judge that the painting relates to the "Sabbatine Privilege" – a belief, officially discountenanced by the Catholic Church since 1613, that the Virgin Mary will rescue those who have worn the scapular from Purgatory on the first Saturday of their stay in that place.2 It is odd, however, that none of the souls wears a scapular. It is also odd that this image of the importance of a Carmelite devotion would feature two Franciscan saints.
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Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
1 Wikipedia, s.v. "Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel."
2 Wikipedia, s.v. "Sabbatine Privilege."