A beautiful mid-18th-century oil on canvas depicting the philosopher, Saint Augustine (Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis). It’s based on an engraving by Gottfried Bernhard Göz (1708-1774).
Here, we see Saint Augustine deep in thought with his right index finger pressed against his forehead. He carries a mournful expression as he looks towards the heavens for divine guidance. The image is awash with religious symbolism including a cherub that’s also pointing upwards towards the light.
The original engraving, which can be found via the link below, includes a quote from Proverbs 30.18, ’Tria sunt difficilia mihi’. Here’s an interpretation:
“Three things lie beyond me, and four I understand not. As a ship passing through the billowy water, Whereof, when it is gone by, there is no trace to be found, Neither pathway of its keel in the billows: Or as when a bird flieth through the air, No token of her passage is found, But the light wind, lashed with the stroke of her pinions, And rent asunder with the violent rush of the moving wings, is passed through, And afterwards no sign of her coming is found therein.”
Gottfried Bernhard Göz produced the original engraving between 1737 and 1742 while collaborating with the Klauber family who were fine art publishers from Augsburg, Germany.
The painting is housed within a gilded 19th-century frame.
Medium: Oil on canvas Overall size: 16½” x 18” / 42cm x 45cm Year of creation: c. 1750 Provenance: Spain Condition: Artwork in presentable condition with areas of wear and losses perhaps caused by cleaning over the years. Canvas relined. Frame with some minor losses and general wear.