(b. ca. 1440, Seligenstadt, d. 1494, Bruges)

St Ursula Shrine: Arrival in Rome (scene 3)

Oil on panel, 35 x 25,3 cm
Memlingmuseum, Sint-Janshospitaal, Bruges

3. Arrival in Rome

Leaving the mountains behind them, the pilgrims arrive in procession in Rome, where they are met by Pope Cyriacus at the portal of an imaginary church or baptistry. The round tower with its circular windows and colonnades in the middle ground, and the putti frolicking and making music on the cornice before it, are also meant to suggest an Italian environment. Etherius, dressed all in red, kneels behind Ursula, whom he has come to join. Ursula is now wearing a demure cap with a veil, under which her hair is loose. Her headgear now remains the same until her demise. A citizen with more personalised features kneels behind Etherius, holding his hat before him. The pope is dressed in a red dalmatic, as is the acolyte who holds his crosier. A group of cardinals and other high-ranking churchmen stand behind him. The concentration of red robes is a clear reference to the coming martyrdom. Inside the church, Etherius' confession is heard, Ursula takes communion, and those who have not yet been baptised undergo the ceremony.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.