PEPIJN, Marten
(b. 1575, Antwerpen, d. ca. 1643, Antwerpen)

St Norbert

Oil on panel, 158 x 120 cm
O.-L. Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp

Marten Pepijn (also spelled Pepyn), an artist at Antwerp painted in a style faithful to the humanists of the preceding generation.

St Norbert played a special part in Antwerp ecclesiastical history. In 1124 he overcame the heretic Tanchelm at Antwerp and made the chapel of Our Lady from which the Cathedral was to evolve, the city's parish church. As one might expect, the pious story does not tally entirely with historical reality. Norbert is customarily portrayed as an archbishop or abbot. His attribute is a monstrance containing the Host, as he defended the Eucharist against Tanchelm's disbelief.

The saint is dressed here in the habit of the Norbertine or Premonstratensian Order, of which he was the founder. He kneels before a monstrance. A sanctuary lamp - an oil lamp that has to be kept burning by the Holy Sacrament (the consecrated wafers) - is suspended in front of a curtain. The olive branch in the background symbolizes Norbert's message of peace.