Southern European Master


Los 12 Auktion

Southern European Master

Estimated price: € 2.000 / 4.000
USD: 2.140 / 4.280 $GBP: 1.688 / 3.376 £
Starting price:  1.000
  • USD: 1.070 €
  • GBP: 844 €
  • USD: 1.070 $
  • GBP: 844 £
USD: 1.070 $GBP: 844 £

Additional information



Southern European Master

Southern European Master
17th century
Saint Daniel
Oil on copper
33 x 23.5 cm, with frame 45.5 x 36 cm
Labelled “Portugau” on the reverse

St Daniel is a prominent figure in the Bible, known for his unwavering faith and his survival in the lions’ den. The story from the Book of Daniel tells of Daniel’s resistance to King Darius’ decree that it was forbidden to pray to any god or man other than the king. For his disobedience, Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den. Miraculously, he remained unharmed throughout the night, protected by an angel sent by God. This event emphasises Daniel’s piety and God’s power and makes him a symbol of faith and divine deliverance.

A painting by a southern European master from the 17th century, possibly from Portugal, depicts this miraculous episode in a representative manner using a number of iconographic motifs. The painting shows the young Daniel standing confidently between two lions, which lie submissively at his feet. The background is a picturesque, hilly, and mountainous landscape painted under a sky that fades into shades of pink, yellow and blue, giving the scene a sense of serene twilight.

Two small figures – one of them an angel – descend from the top right, their presence signalling divine intervention. Daniel, dressed in a long, elaborately embroidered tunic, a pink cloak and a matching turban-like headdress, looks towards these heavenly beings with a look of calm confidence. A halo surrounds his head and emphasises his holiness. In his right hand, he holds a banderole with the inscription ‘Sanctus Daniel Profecta’, which translates as ‘Saint Daniel the Prophet’.

However, the connection between St Daniel and Portugal can be traced back to the cultural and religious integration of biblical figures in Portuguese art. Portugal, with its deep-rooted Catholic tradition, often adopted saints from biblical stories and honoured them for their exemplary faith and the miracles associated with them. The depiction of St Daniel in Portuguese art could reflect the country’s admiration for its history and emphasise the themes of divine protection and fidelity that resonated deeply in the Portuguese religious context.

This painting not only demonstrates the artistic skill of its creator, but also serves as a testament to the enduring influence of biblical stories across different cultures and eras. It also illustrates how the story of St Daniel continues to inspire and captivate believers.


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