Most depictions of St Anthony of Padua show the saint holding the Christ-child and a lily. However a fragment of a fresco by Benozzo Gozzoli (1420-97), in the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, depicts St Anthony holding a flaming heart and a book.
The book alludes to St Anthony's skill at explaining the scriptures, while the heart refers to the walk to Emmaus in the Gospel of St Luke (24:32). The hearts of the disciples burned within them, as Christ explained the scriptures concerning himself: "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:32).
St Anthony's proper name is given above the fresco as Sanctus Antonius Ulixbonensis. Ulixbonensis is the Latin word for the Portuguese city of Lisbon, where St Anthony was born, on August 15th 1195. He died, on June 13th 1231, in the Italian city of Padua, where he is buried.
Less than a year later, on May 30th 1232, St Anthony was canonised by Pope Gregory IX (r. 1227-41).
June 13th is the feast day of St Anthony of Padua, who is the patron saint of, inter alia, lost things, lost people and lost souls.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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