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Francken, Frans, II
The Four Latin Fathers of the Church
Around 1620

Frans Francken II is known for his small-scale paintings of biblical, historical, mythological and genre subjects. The Four Fathers of the Church depicts an imaginary gathering of Saints Gregory, Jerome, Augustine and Ambrose. Saint Augustine and Saint Ambrose did know each other but Saint Gregory and Saint Jerome lived in different centuries. Each of the four men made a significant contribution, both liturgical and practical, to the future of the Catholic Church, and are thus known as the four Latin fathers or doctors of the church. Francken paints them with specific attributes to distinguish them. Gregory is shown in the papal tiara, Jerome in the crimson of the cardinal, Augustine wearing a bishop’s mitre, and Ambrose with a beehive, which refers to a legend that had prophesized his future eloquence.

 
Francken, Frans, II
Antwerp, Belgium 1581–Antwerp, Belgium 1642
The Four Latin Fathers of the Church
Around 1620
Oil on copper
16.0 x 21.5 cm
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Bader, 1979
22-048

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