Scenes from the Passion of St. Vincent of Saragossa and the History of His Relics

Pot-metal glass with vitreous paint, 147 x 43½ inches (373.4 x 110.5 cm.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Originally in St. Germain des Prés, Paris

This stained glass is a composite constructed from several windows, some narrating the martyrdom of St. Vincent and others presenting the story of how his relics came to the church of St. Germain des Prés. Both sets of windows were originally in the church's Great Chapel of the Virgin, and as one can see they were similar enough to each other in shape and decoration to enable a composite such as this.1

The martyrdom panels mostly follow the account in the Golden Legend. In the bottom register (see detail) the provost Dacian orders his men to arrest St. Vincent and his bishop St. Valerian. The servant on the left holds the chain with which he will bind the two Christians. In the next scene (see detail) the servant has put the chain on Valerian and Vincent and is taking them before the provost.

In the upper half, above the two kings on horses, the story continues with Dacian ordering the execution of the two Christians (see detail) and Vincent's body being thrown into the sea with a millstone attached to his neck (see detail).

The kings seen in the middle of the composite (see detail) are Childebert on the left and Clothar on the right. They had besieged the city of Saragossa and in consequence obtained one of its most valued treasures, the tunic of St. Vincent. The image has them returning triumphantly to France. In the trilobe at the top of the composite are an angel in the uppermost lobe and in the right lobe a defender of the city blowing an oliphant. a hunter's horn made from an elephant's tusk 2

Read more about St. Vincent of Saragossa.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

1 Shepard, 258.

2 Shepard, 259-60.