Saint Ursula

This work in brass was acquired by the Pierre-François Tilmon Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation. It was probably made at the end of the 17th century by an artist from the Dinant region. This Mosan town acquired an international reputation thanks to the improvements it brought to the production of brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) and the presence of numerous dinandiers (brass and copper workshops). Moreover, the term Dinanderie, whose first mention dates back to 1389, derives its name from that of the city.

The work shows knowledge from former times. The star-covered coat and the veil covering the saint’s hair recall Marian iconography, and in particular that of the Virgin Mary from Saint John’s Book of Revelation (Ch. 12, 1): And there appeared great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. However, some of the elements have been related to the 19th century, notably the crown, the palm and the arrow. These are attributes of Saint Ursula. The sculpture has probably changed its iconography over the centuries. The life of Saint Ursula is recounted in the Légenda Aurea by Jacques de Voragine. According to the author, this Breton princess was martyred, riddled with arrows, by the Huns after refusing to marry Attila during the siege of Cologne.

This rather small sculpture probably decorated a piece of liturgical furniture (such as the Easter candlestick or the choir lectern). It has now found its place among the collection of dinanderie at the Musée Provincial des Arts Anciens du Namurois-Trésor d'Oignies (TreM.a) in Namur.

Further information about the Pierre François Tilmon Fund (in French)

Material / technique: 
Cast brass
32.5 cms high
Type of acquisition: 
Pierre-François Tilmon Fund acquisition
Year of acquisition: 
Depository institution: 
Musée Provincial des Arts Anciens du Namurois-Trésor d'Oignies (TreM.a). Namur