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“Saint Augustine” is the title in the Art Institute, Chicago of this oil on panel made ca. 1477–1485 by Bartolomé Bermejo (active 1468–1495) [1]. His real name was Bartolomé de Cárdenas, born ca. 1440 in Córdoba, Spain. He was a cultivator of the Flemish style using the technique of oil glazing, and was considered the foremost Hispanic painter in the 15th century. Bermejo helped introduce Renaissance style to Spain, and his work was emulated by many painters of his era [2, 3].


Perhaps not seen at first glance, the snail is present as part of the decoration of the throne. It has a Helix-like shell with few whorls and a thickened apertural lip; it is a dextral specimen. The animal seems flattened, but in effect shows the contours of one larger and the two smaller tentacles.


[1] AIC, inv. 1947.393. Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection. http://bit.ly/1wh5nK1.
[2] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/62283/Bartolome-Bermejo.
[3] Berg-Sobré, J., 1998. Bortolomé de Cárdenas, “El Bermejo”: itinerant painter in the crown of Aragon: i–xii, 1–333. International Scholar Publications, San Francisco.