Irt I ri [hLi hay a [he paintings Lni l their hungi 1 theii lionishmcnl ivin allow i K i e i hL i i 111 levup in ihern as ihey ga pe their drink is sobriety and 11 I 1 the longing for excessiv wine

In a letter w ritten to his friend Severus, Paulinus discusses another case of interior church décoration lhal presented a different problem—the appropriateness of including the portrait of .j living individual, 1 II' haí Learned that Severus adorned the baptistery he had constructed at Primulacum with portraits of Saint Martin of Tours (died ,iLi7' as well as of Paulinus himself. Although, Paulinus argues, Martin's portrait is at ceplable for such .l impace, since "he bore the imajje of I he heavenly man by his perfect imitation of Chmt w> when men lay aside the old age of their earthly image in the baptismal font, the portrait of a heavenly koij] wurlhy of imitation wuuld strike their eytst" he i-, n-nt so sure ah oui the suit ab ility of his own I i kei less b ei 11 ^ 1 h fne, I le d eel i nes tt1 bel i eve that his own image is worthy of being included ill (he d¿cor:

Indeed, it I did nol kh im ih.n you had had thii portrait done through great zeal ol your excessive love for me, I would charçe you w Ith drvjouï mallet. I would have uid that by dejucli ng me close on 1 he ■ >pposi wall. "ou had con: i iv.i ,1 my !.■'.-. I - Ii pun --11 r■. ■ ■ 1.1■. ,1 n 11 u 11I.1I iljrknçsi ■,-, il h M.wl in's htily person; arid i h.11 by J- ■■ 11 ç so you Ii.k! painted onh h 1111 and done .1 lotie.11 ure 1 tf me. exposing mr to merited contempt unct1 Marl n s <ou nlenafi£c is si £h ted, and dcmonsi nu i ng the hciriíiusncsi oí thii abs ur lI conipariicm.

Acknowledging lhat Severuss gesture was inspired by true affection, Paulinus graciously offers a few verses to go along with the twin por traits that demonstrate their function—to give a "healthy formation'' to a^l those baptized in that font. Since they look up to see both Martin, lIil1 model of saintly courage and nobility, as well .ls Paulinus, the model of one who merited forgiveness by means <it his profligate charity» they have before them two distinct models, one of virtue and the other of well deserved humility, 0r> according to Paulinus» whereas Martin's portrait "catches the eye of the blessed," his own face i1-. there ¡or the c< jmfort ot wretched sinners."

Numerous descriptions of visu.il representations oí saints exist in ancient literary sources and provide evidence for .1 pictorial tradition that has no counterpart in the existing material remains, apart from the confessio at Saints Giovanni and Paolo that shows an act of martyrdom as well as an act 01 veneration Rather than only recounting the stories of the martyrs' passions, these interesting texts also describe the portrayals of these passions as they appeared on art objects. A textual description of a pictorial subject {ekphrasis} had a rhetorical purpose of its own, of course; it may have been intended not only to describe an actual visual image but, even more, to recreate the visual experience and emotional reaction of a viewer who may have been simultaneously hearing the story." The audience (or reader) of this description is thus invited to imagine what it felt like to sec the artwork and experience its emotional impact. However, in almost all cases, the works described in these documents have disappeared for never existed), and so we have no basis for comparing a verbal description with an actual object. At the very least, we may assume that authors elaborated or enhanced the images they described in order to achieve a particular literary purpose, even if they did not make them up entirely.1

The value of these images lay not only in their accurate and edifying illustration of particular individuals1 courageous deeds but also in their ability to instruct viewers on the nature of sanctity itself, something that might be attained by gazing upon the image of the saint, while calling to mind the fortitude and transcendent aims of the hero< In time, tlte face alone could serve as an emblem of holiness, and gazing on a portrait wrould offer some direct knowledge or awareness of the character of its model and would thereby edify, inspire, or influence the viewer to imitation. This was the case made by Paul in us, at least with respect to Martins portrait as it was seen by those being baptized in the font at Primqlacum, In that instance, the image, although a simple portrait, revealed far more than a mere external likeness sincc it bore witness to Martin's entire character and called to mind his many wonderful deeds. Another example comes from a homily of John Chrystostom's in honor of Saint Meletius, Bishop of Antioch (360-361}. He pointed out that parents both named their children after Meletius and reproduced his likeness in painted portraits that were etched on rings, seals, and bowls» Thus, Chrysostom notes, the faithful not only hear his name repeated frequently in their community but can take additional consolation in seeing his "physical traits" on an almost daily basis.1-'

In many of these literary descriptions of martyrs1 images, the artworks described seem to tocus on the acts of the hero, more than on his or her external appearance, and so are not portraits in the strict sense. Many of them supposedly presented several scenes in sequence and with extensive narrative detail, perhaps somewhat embellished by the writer in order to give a dramatic, pictonally oriented presentation, characterise c of much rheto ri c of Lat e An t i q u i ty. St i ] 1, t h e v i vidness o f t he se ^vr it-ten descriptions provide important data about the significance of saints' images in die devotional life pf the era.

One such example tomes from a homily that was apparently delivered at the martyrium of Saint Barlaam in Antioch, which has been attributed to Basil of Caesarea* According to tradition, Barlaam died at the beginning of the fourth century during the persecutions of G atari us and Maximums Dai a. He refused to drop incense into the sacrificial tire, allowing his hand to be burnt instead. The author (perhaps John Chrysostorn, since the homily was delivered at Antioch) describes a visual depiction of this scene (and includes Christ as the presider over the "contest"), possibly in the shrine itself, and praises the work of the artists who skillfully presented it:

Arise nu\vh O splendid painter of the feats of martyrst Magnify with: your art the gen em I s mutilated appearance. Adorn with your cunning colors the crowned athlete whom L have but dimly described. ,, F May I behold the struggle between the hand and the fire, depicted more accurately by you; may

I behold the.wrestler as lie is represented more splendidly on your image____

I jet the burnt yet victorious hand be .shown to them once again. Let Christ too, who presides over the contest he depicted on the panel.-1

The inclusion of Christ in the picture, as the judge or presider over the contest, is similar to a text ascribed to Basils friend and contemporary, Gregory of Nyssa, which describes an extremely complex scene of martyrdom in Saint Theodore's shrine at Buchaita (near Aulas eta in Pon-tus), Gregory praises the artist tor including the deeds of the saint, his resistance, torments, thel<ferocious faces of the tyrants," tile insults, and the death of the martyr himself. He goes even further* making a comparison between the vivid portrayals of the martyr s passion as recorded in documents and the image as portrayed in visual art, crediting the painter with portraying by means of colors1 as if it were a book that uttered speech ... for painting, even if it ts silent*is capable of speaking from the wall and being of the greatest benefit."15 Given the many aspects of the artwork describedn it apparently had many sequential scenes, showing the trial, mocking, and finally the death of the saint.

The powerful relationship we see here between storytelling and visual portrayal as lauded by Gregory of Nvssa above is also affirmed by Basil, in a feast-day homily he delivered in the Caesarea church that housed the relics of the Forty Martyrs who died under Licinius, frozen to death on a lake near Sebaste. Proclaiming that the words of orators, like the visual images of artists, are equally able to make dead heroes vividly present and excite both courage and commitment in listeners and observers alike, Basil observes; "Those parts of the story that a sermon presents through the hearing, the silent picture sets before the eyes for the sake of imitation Here Basil, Eike Gregory, parallels the benefits of rhetoric and image and claims ail equal value of seeing and hearing or reading for the inspiration of the faithful

A more detailed description of pictorial imagery in a martyr's shrine comes to us from Asterius of Amaseia, who claims to have been captivated by a painting on canvas of Saint Euphemia on a visit to her tomb. Aster i us provides a brief account of Euph em ¡as story and the establishment of her cull and then goes on at great length to describe the visual portrayal of her passion—a vast narrative image that included a huge cast of characters {government guard, soldiers, secretaries, magistrate, and executioners), as well as the saint herself in a number of episodic scenes including her torture, imprisonment, and death by fire. Throughout this description, Asterius comments on his own reaction to the imagery. Tor instance, Euphemia's expression at her trial showed a mixture of modesty and courage, Asterius praises the artist for being able to combine both these affections in a single expression and adds that, although the virgin was portrayed as quite beautiful, he (Asterius) also perceived the "virtue that adorns her soul." Asterius even compares this image with a famous first-century painting of Medea and announces that, based on his viewing of Euphemia's passion, he has transferred his admiration from those painters of classical myths to the artist of this Christian story, who "blended so well the bloom of his colors, combining modesty with courage, two affections that are so contradictory in nature,"'7

Perhaps the most impressive of these descriptions of martyr's images, combined with a verbal retelling of their stories, comes from the poetry of Prudentiu& a Spanish ascetic who was a slightly older contemporary of Paulinas of Nola* In his cvde of martyr poems blown as the Pcrzs-repilation (meaning "wreaths" or "crowns"), he tells the stories of fourteen renowned saints, including Peter, Paul, Lawrrence, Cyprian, Hippolytus, and Ageiis, as well as more local Spanish saints from Caha-horra, Tarragona, and Saragossa. In most cases, these poems arc more than hagiographies presented in verse, since they also evoke the space and decor of the martyrs' shrines and even describe liturgies and pilgrims1 activities at those places, making the work a valuable record of the cult of martyrs hi the late fourth century.13

For example, in his poem dedicated to Saint Cassian of Imola, the speaker presents himself as a pilgrim on his wray to Rome, stopping along the way at the shrine of Saint Cassian. Lying prostrate oil the ground in front of the martyr's tomb, he tearfully looks up to the portrait of the saint, "depicted in colors and bearing a thousand wounds, his whole body lacerated and his skin torn by tiny punctures.'1" According to the image, the little puncture wounds were inflicted by schoolboys wielding sharp styluses. These schoolboys were once Cassians pupils, who became hEs executioners when the judge handed the confessed Christian over to them for torture in revenge for his harsh lessofti

In a later poem, Prudentius describes a pictorial image—apparently a mural of some sort—that showed the sufferings of the third-century

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