Late 15th century
Vincent the Deacon became a saint through martyrdom and is therefore depicted holding a palm, the symbol of the Christian martyrs. Thought to have been born in Huesca, he preached the Christian faith in Saragossa and was persecuted during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian (early 4th century). He was condemned to death in Valencia. His body was ordered to be thrown into a swamp to be devoured by wild beasts but was miraculously saved by a raven. Ravens were also said to have protected the martyr’s body over the centuries and accompanied his relics to Lisbon one night in September 1173.
This small image was shown in the exhibition held to mark the 800th anniversary of the translation of the relics of St Vincent to Lisbon (1973) and was acquired shortly thereafter by the City Council for the City Museum. It was made by an unnamed sculpture workshop in Coimbra in the 15th century as a decorative element for an altar.
© Museu de Lisboa