Daniel Mitsui  ~  Religious Drawings and Prints  ~  Original Drawings for Sale  ~  St. Christopher



ST. CHRISTOPHER
DRAWING by DANIEL MITSUI


ST. CHRISTOPHER


This drawing depicts two scenes from the life of St. Christopher, a giant who became a martyr and the patron of travelers. The stories are told in the Golden Legend:
Christopher was of the lineage of the Canaanites, and he was of a right great stature, and had a terrible and fearful cheer and countenance, and he was twelve cubits of length... It came in his mind that he would seek the greatest prince that was in the world, and him would he serve and obey. And so far he went that he came to a right great king, of whom the renomee generally was that he was the greatest of the world. And when the king saw him, he received him into his service, and made him to dwell in his court.

Upon a time a minstrel sang tofore him a song in which he named oft the devil, and the king, which was a Christian man, when he heard him name the devil, made anon the sign of the cross in his visage. And when Christopher saw that, he had great marvel what sign it was, and wherefore the king made it, and he demanded of him. And because the king would not say, he said: If thou tell me not, I shall no longer dwell with thee.

And then the king told to him, saying: Alway when I hear the devil named, I fear that he should have power over me, and I garnish me with this sign that he grieve not ne annoy me.

Then Christopher said to him: Doubtest thou the devil that he hurt thee not? Then is the devil more mighty and greater than thou art. I am then deceived of my hope and purpose, for I had supposed I had found the most mighty and the most greatest Lord of the world, but I commend thee to God, for I will go seek him for to be my Lord, and I his servant.

And then Christopher departed from this king, and hasted him for to seek the devil. And as he went by a great desert, he saw a great company of knights, of which a knight cruel and horrible came to him and demanded whither he went, and Christopher answered to him and said: I go seek the devil for to be my master. And he said: I am he that thou seekest. And then Christopher was glad, and bound him to be his servant perpetual, and took him for his master and Lord.

And as they went together by a common way, they found there a cross, erect and standing. And anon as the devil saw the cross he was afeard and fled, and left the right way, and brought Christopher about by a sharp desert. And after, when they were past the cross, he brought him to the highway that they had left. And when Christopher saw that, he marvelled, and demanded whereof he doubted, and had left the high and fair way, and had gone so far about by so aspre a desert. And the devil would not tell him in no wise.

Then Christopher said to him: If thou wilt not tell me, I shall anon depart from thee, and shall serve thee no more.

Wherefor the devil was constrained to tell him, and said: There was a man called Christ which was hanged on the cross, and when I see his sign I am sore afraid, and flee from it wheresoever I see it.

To whom Christopher said: Then he is greater, and more mightier than thou, when thou art afraid of his sign, and I see well that I have laboured in vain, when I have not founden the greatest Lord of the world. And I will serve thee no longer, go thy way then, for I will go seek Christ.

And when he had long sought and demanded where he should find Christ, at last he came into a great desert, to an hermit that dwelt there, and this hermit preached to him of Jesu Christ and informed him in the faith diligently, and said to him: This king whom thou desirest to serve, requireth the service that thou must oft fast.

And Christopher said to him: Require of me some other thing, and I shall do it, for that which thou requirest I may not do.

And the hermit said: Thou must then wake and make many prayers.

And Christopher said to him: I wot not what it is; I may do no such thing.

And then the hermit said to him: Knowest thou such a river, in which many be perished and lost?

To whom Christopher said: I know it well.

Then said the hermit, Because thou art noble and high of stature and strong in thy members, thou shalt be resident by that river, and thou shalt bear over all them that shall pass there, which shall be a thing right convenable to our Lord Jesu Christ whom thou desirest to serve, and I hope he shall show himself to thee.

Then said Christopher: Certes, this service may I well do, and I promise to him for to do it.

Then went Christopher to this river, and made there his habitacle for him, and bare a great pole in his hand instead of a staff, by which he sustained him in the water, and bare over all manner of people without ceasing. And there he abode, thus doing, many days. And in a time, as he slept in his lodge, he heard the voice of a child which called him and said: Christopher, come out and bear me over.

Then he awoke and went out, but he found no man. And when he was again in his house, he heard the same voice and he ran out and found nobody. The third time he was called and came thither, and found a child beside the rivage of the river, which prayed him goodly to bear him over the water.

And then Christopher lift up the child on his shoulders, and took his staff, and entered into the river for to pass. And the water of the river arose and swelled more and more: and the child was heavy as lead, and alway as he went farther the water increased and grew more, and the child more and more waxed heavy, insomuch that Christopher had great anguish and was afeard to be drowned.

And when he was escaped with great pain, and passed the water, and set the child aground, he said to the child: Child, thou hast put me in great peril; thou weighest almost as I had all the world upon me, I might bear no greater burden.

And the child answered: Christopher, marvel thee nothing, for thou hast not only borne all the world upon thee, but thou hast borne him that created and made all the world, upon thy shoulders. I am Jesu Christ the king, to whom thou servest in this work. And because that thou know that I say to be the truth, set thy staff in the earth by thy house, and thou shalt see to-morn that it shall bear flowers and fruit, and anon he vanished from his eyes.

And then Christopher set his staff in the earth, and when he arose on the morn, he found his staff like a palmier bearing flowers, leaves and dates.


Medium: Drawing, black, red & blue ink on calfskin vellum
Dimensions: 4 × 6"
Year: 2023



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