(b. ca. 1555, Bologna, d. 1629, Milano)

St Ambrose Stopping Theodosius

Oil on canvas
Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio, Milan

St Ambrose was the bishop of Milan, one of the four western Fathers of the Church. For his responsibility for a massacre at Thessalonika in 390, the emperor Theodosius was excommunicated by Ambrose until he had public penance. The emperor is shown on the church steps surrounded by his courtiers. Ambrose, with an admonishing gesture, is in the act of turning him away. The scene symbolizes the authority of the Church over the secular powers.