Saint Elizabeth of Hungary bringing food for the inmates of a hospital. Oil painting by Adam Elsheimer, ca. 1598.

  • Elsheimer, Adam, 1578-1610.
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Saint Elizabeth of Hungary bringing food for the inmates of a hospital. Oil painting by Adam Elsheimer, ca. 1598. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

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About this work


Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, with a halo, offers a bowl of food and a tankard of drink to a man who sits up in bed. Next to the bed in the left foreground is a table covered by a green cloth, on which is a glass jug of water, and underneath the bed is a chamber pot. Two other patients lie in other beds in the room. Above each bed is a framed painting of a sacred subject. A large statue of the Virgin and Christ Child is mounted on one of the end walls. Two ladies attending Saint Elizabeth of Hungary stand in the centre of the room, and other people stand or sit around. Beyond, an arch divided from the front ward by a curtain which is drawn back to reveal another ward with three beds, each holding one patient

Above left, a large arched window, with a coat of arms placed within the top of the window embrasure. The arms are those of Saint Elizabeth's family--the Árpád dynasty of Hungary--except that they appear to be in the wrong orientation: the cross is on the sinister side and the bars on the dexter side, whereas the reverse is found in reference sources



Physical description

1 painting : oil on copper ; copper 27.8 x 20 cm

References note

Kunstauktionhaus Math. Lempertz, Gemälde alter Meister, Cologne, 1 December 1927, lot no. 63 and fig. 9
A. Mak, Tableaux anciens et modernes ... vente publique, le mardi 5 juin 1928, Amsterdam 1928, p. 29, lot 173 (Adam Elsheimer, La légende de Sainte Elisabeth), reproduced
Gode Krämer, 'Ein wiedergefundenes Bild aus der Frühzeit Elsheimers', Pantheon 1978, 36: 319-326, summaries p. 351
Keith Andrews, 'Once more Elsheimer', The Burlington Magazine, 1979, 121: 168-172 and fig. 49
Reinhold Hohl, [review of Keith Andrews, Adam Elsheimer. Paintings-drawings-prints, London: Phaidon, 1977], Pantheon, 1979, 38: 80-81
Axel Hinrich Murken, 'Das Krankenhaus im Wandel der Zeit', Neue Heimat, 1980, nos. 11 and 12, pp. 36-45. (reproduced on the front cover and on p. 36, with caption on p. 37)
Axel Hinrich Murken and Burkhard Hofman, 'Die Heilige Elisabeth als Krankenpflegerin', Historia hospitalium, 1979-80, 13: 7-28
Malcolm Waddingham, 'Elsheimer's Frankfurt tabernacle: discovery of the final piece'. The Burlington Magazine, 1981, 123: 346-350 (the present picture is mentioned on pp. 349-350)
Brigitte Rechberg, Die heilige Elisabeth in der Kunst: Abbild, Vorbild, Wunschbild, Marburg/Lahn 1983, no. 55, pp. 92-93
William Schupbach, 'Elsheimer il malinconico', Kos, 1984, 1(5): 85-100
Keith Andrews, Adam Elsheimer, enlarged German-language edition, Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1985, p. 14, plate 45, p. 174
Rose-Marie Hagen and Rainer Hagen, 'Lieberdienst am gemarterten Heiland. Adam Elsheimer: "Die Heilige Elisabeth betreut die Kranken", um 1597', art (Hamburg), 1987, no. 7, pp. 86-91
Cristina Morra and Gabriella Pantò, 'Ceramica dall'Ospedale Maggiore degli Infermi di Vercelli', Quaderni della Soprintendenza Archeologica del Piemonte, 1990, vol. 9, pp. 163-72, tavv. LX-LXIX
Claudine Herzlich and Janine Pierret, Kranke gestern, Kranke heute: die Gesellschaft und das Leiden, Munich: C.H. Beck, 1991, reproduced on front cover
Thomas Bauer, Heike Drummer and Leoni Krämer (edd.), Vom "stede arzt" zum Stadtsgesundheitsamt: die Geschichte des Öffentlichen Gesundheitswesens in Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Waldemar Kramer, 1992 (picture reproduced on p. 12)
Lothar Gall (ed.), FFM 1200: Traditionen und Perspektiven einer Stadt, Sigmaringen: Thorbeke, 1994, p. 112
Carmel Shalev, Health and human rights in Israeli law, Ramot Press, Tel Aviv University, 2003 (reproduced on front and back covers)
Rutger J. Tijs, De andere Rubens: activiteiten, interesses, leefwereld, Louvain: Davidsfonds, 2004, p. 221
Rüdiger Klessmann, Emilie Gordenker and Christian Tico Seifert, Im Detail die Welt entdecken: Adam Elsheimer 1578-1610, Wolfratshausen 2006, pp. 4, 13, 46-47 (catalogue no. 2), 201, 206, 301
Rüdiger Klessmann, Emilie Gordenker and Christian Tico Seifert, Adam Elsheimer 1578-1610, Edinburgh 2006, pp. 13, 46-47 (catalogue no. 2), 200, 206


Wellcome Collection 44650i

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