Master of Saint Severin
German, active in Cologne

SN 307, oil on canvas affixed to panel, c. 1480-1520

From: "The Pages"

In the painted scene a young nobleman and his wife are being entertained at the entrance to a Carthusian monastery.

A young monk seems to have fallen in love with the lady. In the background at the right, the same monk and the noblewoman are being attacked by two bears, evidently in punishment for adultery. The young husband and others stand by without attempting to help.

On the reverse side of the panel a later inscription reads: “Légende de l’ours, Episode de la vie d’ Ezzo, Comte Palatin XVe-siecle.” Which translates: “Legend of the bears, episode in the life of Ezzo, Count Palatin, 15th c.”

According to Suida, stylistically “this painting is closely connected with several cyclical representations of the legends of St Severin, St Ursula, St Lawrence, St Gereon, and St Bernard, which originated in Cologne at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries. The anonymous ‘Master of St Severin’ is but the leading personality of a group of painters active in Cologne between 1480 and 1520.”