Saints of Creative Spirits (1): St. Luke, the Saint of Artists
Welcome to a new week on Daily Dose of Art! To prepare for the celebration of All Saints’ Day, I bring you a special feature called “Saints of Creative Spirits”. We look into the lives of the patron saints of creative spirits like artists, dancers, musicians and writers.
Today, I bring you Saint Luke, the Patron Saint of Artists.
What is a saint? What is a patron saint?
Patron Saint of Artists
St. Luke is the patron saint of artists. Why? He is said to be a painter himself — the first icon painter, having painted pictures of the Virgin Mary (for example, The Black Madonna of Częstochowa or Our Lady of Vladimir) and of Peter and Paul. Thus late medieval Guilds of St Luke in the cities of Flanders, or the “Accademia di San Luca” (Academy of St. Luke) in Rome—imitated in many other European cities during the 16th century—gathered together and protected painters. The tradition that Luke painted icons of Mary and Jesus has been common, particularly in Eastern Orthodoxy. The tradition also has support from the Saint Thomas Christians of India who claim to still have one of the Theotokos icons that St. Luke painted and which St. Thomas brought to India.
Feast Day: October 18th.
Date of Death: A.D. 70
Cause of Death: Natural Causes
How is Saint Luke represented in Christian Art?
Saint Luke is represented in Christian Art with an easel and painting materials. Beside him is usually an ox, symbolical of sacrifice; in other words, that in St. Luke’s Gospel we have the fullest description of the Sacrifice of Christ.