Defenders of the Eucharist
Series TitleA Procession of Saints
Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577 – 1640)
MediumOil on copper
DimensionsFrame : 19 1/2 x 20 3/4 in. (49.53 x 52.71 cm)
Panel : 6 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (15.88 x 21.59 cm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
LabelDefenders of the Eucharist copies a composition created by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens in 1625. The original composition belonged to a larger set of tapestry designs that were commissioned by a Spanish aristocrat for a convent in Madrid. The tapestries depict stories associated with the sacrament of the Eucharist, the nature of which became a point of dispute between Roman Catholics and Protestants after the Reformation. The central figures in this image are St. Clare, who used a Eucharistic host to repel an attack on the town of Assisi in 1234, and St. Thomas Aquinas, who helped compose the Eucharistic Mass of Corpus Christi in 1264. The two figures on the right are St. Norbert of Xanten and St. Jerome. The three figures on the left are St. Ambrose, St. Augustine and St. Gregory. The original Rubens composition was much admired and was copied numerous times in paintings by his students and followers.