D’Agrate or Hirst ; St Bartholomew




This is a statue in Milan Cathedral and its appearance is striking and frightening all in one.

St Bartholomew, now the patron saint of tanners, apparently , stands having flayed his own self and holding his skin and is all tissue and muscle and everything else carved into this solid block of marble.

It is amazing to look at.

Mark Twain said of it ‘It was a hideous thing, and yet there was a fascination about it somehow…’

Carved by Marco d’Agrate (c.1504 – c.1574)

Damien Hirst has done a version of St Bartholomew in bronze (2006) called Exquisite Pain.http://www.fadwebsite.com/wp-content/uploads/hirst.jpg.

I  think I prefer the earlier version although the actual subject matter is a little morbid but compelling to look at..


9 thoughts on “D’Agrate or Hirst ; St Bartholomew

  1. ‘macabre’ is the right word- it must appeal to my darker side! I could only take a few snapshots as they are a bit reluctant to have people photographing in the cathedral. Apparently his proper face is somewhere down his back…… 😦

    • Yes ,it did stand out amongst all the statues and icons in there.I don’t spend long in churches /cathedrals but this caught my eye enough for me to find out a little more…….

  2. I went to Catholic elementary school, and the nuns were always telling us about the saints who deliberately hurt their bodies and made themselves suffer….so they would somehow be “closer to God.” I never did understand that.
    If I was God, my response to their behavior would be this: “I gave you the gift of a perfectly good body to help you travel on your way through life…and you took my gift and ripped it to shreds? WHY?!”

    • interesting comment. I think humans suffer enough without having to deliberately add to it for the sake of a little martyrdom.
      It is good you had the the independence of having your own opinion!

  3. Pingback: Damien Hirst , Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain (d. 2008) | underwhereblog

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