In St. Paul the Hermit, Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652) depicts a moment in the ascetic life of the Egyptian saint. Fleeing the persecution of Christians by Roman Emperor Decius in 250 CE, Paul found his way to the desert where he would spend more than 90 years committed to a life of solitude and contemplation. He was nourished daily by dates from a nearby palm tree and half a loaf of bread delivered daily by a raven. On the day St. Anthony Abbott met Paul in his cave, the raven provided a whole loaf of bread for the two to share.
Stop by the museum to reflect on solitude posed through two questions that will be posted next to the work in the gallery. On your way out, take a small loaf of bread from our Visitor Services Desk. Enjoy half in solitude or share a whole loaf in fellowship with a friend like Sts. Anthony and Paul.