CANO, Alonso
(b. 1601, Granada, d. 1667, Granada)

The Vision of St Bernard

c. 1650
Oil on canvas, 267 x 185 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

A reforming prelate, a theologian, author of numerous books, and an abbot who rejected both wealth and images (for his monks he would sanction only the crucifix, St Bernard of Clairvaux is the important religious and ecclesiastical figure of the twelfth century. In this painting Cano depicts one of the legendary episodes of his life: the statue of the Virgin coming to life and moistening his lips with a few drops of milk. Called the Miracle of Lactation it is frequent in Spanish and German art. Cano represents the saint in white Cistercian habit, one of his attributes.