Dieric Bouts the Elder, The Hippolytus Triptych

After 1468
Oil on wood, Central panel: 35.4 x 35.1 in. (90 x 89.2 cm.). Each wing: 36.2 x 16.1 in. (92 x 41 cm.)
Cathedral of the Holy Savior, Bruges (placed in the Groeninge Museum for conservation reasons in 1992)

The center panel presents a medieval-style drawing and quartering of the saint, a slight departure from the account in the Golden Legend.

In the Legend the saint is stripped naked at the command of the Emperor Decius. Here the artist has left him a bit of covering; the rest of the clothes are in the lower part of the image, between the two horses. Hippolytus' response to the stripping was to tell Decius, "you haven't stripped me, rather you've clothed me."

The kneeling figure in the right panel could be Justin, the priest who was to bury the saint's body. The standing figures in red are Decius and his prefect Valerian. The kneeling figures in the left panel are of course the donors: Hippolyte de Berthoz, Charles the Bold's treasurer, and his wife Elisabeth Hugheins.

View a detail of the center panel
More of St. Hippolytus

Source: Web Gallery of Art