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Finding Faith: A rare painting of a saint’s exhumation

Rogier van der Weyden; Saint Hubert

Photo by Lucien de Guise; courtesy of National Gallery, London

Lucien de Guise - published on 05/24/20

Rogier van der Weyden from the 1430s shows Saint Hubert being taken out of his grave in Saint Peter's Church, Liège, Belgium.

A series that looks at the visual arts for signs of the universal Church in sometimes unexpected places.
Who has not walked along the nave of a church and wondered if there are actual bodies beneath those memorial stones? It was once a common practice, but is less so nowadays. However normal the practice may have been, it wasn’t a popular theme with artists. Even more unusual are depictions of bodies being exhumed — another common practice in the past.
This painting by Rogier van der Weyden from the 1430s shows Saint Hubert being taken out of his grave in Saint Peter’s Church, Liège, Belgium. Although he was buried in AD 727, he was exhumed twice and on both occasions was found to be in perfect condition. He was later moved to a new location, which is just as well as the Vikings destroyed the church that he had built and been buried in.
Rogier van der Weyden ; Saint Hubert
Photo by Lucien de Guise; courtesy of National Gallery, London
Lucien de Guise is on Instagram @crossxcultural. As a Catholic writer, editor, curator and former museum director, his aim is to build bridges through art.
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