Ikon: Journal of Iconographic studies vol:6 pages:39-54
The Vir Dei and the Famula Dei are prototypes of the medieval saint. Different from the early Christian saints, their life is all too seldom crowned with martyrdom, but nevertheless they are able to work wonders, fight successfully against devils and demons, have divine apparitions and remain trustworthy helpers of their venerators even beyond death. The power of these saints originates from their ascetic life in faith to God. Two key figures to understand the concept of the Vir Dei are the hermit Anthony and the founder of European monasticism Benedict. Their lives are exemplary for regional important saints, like the Picardian saint Judoc whose vita has allusions to the life of Anthony and Bendict. Therefore the paper discusses a manuscript preserved in the Royal library of Belgium (ms. 10958) which was made for the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, in about 1449, in contrast to two late medieval monastic picture cycles illustrating the lives of Anthony (Valetta, The National Library of Malta, cod. 1) and Benedict (Würzburg, UB, M. p. th. q. 8) . The paper analyses how different forms of apparitions and visions are narratologically embedded in the plots and work together to demonstrate the power of the saints. Thereby attention is paid to the crucial question “Who is entitled to see?”, the interplay of miniatures and viewers as well as the functioning of the three manuscripts in their differing social contexts.