DescriptionJohn Emms (British, 1843-1912)
The faith of St. Bernard
Oil on canvas
36 x 27-1/2 inches (91.4 x 69.9 cm)
Signed lower right: JNO Emms
Private collection, Missouri.
Patron saint of mountaineers and of the Alps themselves, Saint Bernard is perhaps best recognized today through the noble working dogs which bear his name. Likely set at the Great Saint Bernard Hospice, or hospital, nestled high in the Alps of southwestern Switzerland, the present work closely relates to another work by Emms, The Rescuers, in which the dogs and their master set out to save a stranded or injured traveler. Here we see the monk's staff used in The Rescuers as a support, leaning up against the wall at left. The traveler rests beneath a tartan blanket, watched over closely by the monk, who appears to have set a bone or fashioned a splint; his medical instruments and scraps of wood sit discarded in the lower right corner. The dogs themselves rest, one licking at his paws, presumably cold and sore from his heroic efforts. The other sits dutifully by his master, peering up at the crucifix, perhaps in thanks, a four-legged member of the order.
Under UV: varnish fluoresces green unevenly. A few small brushy areas of retouching at edges, particularly to the left edge. A very few finely applied dots of retouching to the background, apparently not affecting the figures.
Framed Dimensions 48.25 X 40.5 X 5 Inches
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