Saint Florian

MAKER:
Artist

Matthew Benedict ( American, 1968 )

DATE:
1997–1998
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General Description

Matthew Benedict has rendered Saint Florian, the 4th century patron saint of firefighters, in a gouache technique reminiscent of late 19th- and early 20th-century commercial and decorative arts and has used photographs of contemporary subjects as source material for his composition. In placing this ordinary man, in reality just a friend of the artist, into a historical context, Benedict gives him an alternate identity and transforms him into a model citizen. This fusing of the past with the present raises questions about how we visualize the past, the true nature of the historical figures we venerate, and our perception of modern-day heroes and miracles.