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Saint Florian

Hl. Florian


Austria, 18th century
carved, polychrome painted and gilt wood
25 in

St. Florian of Lorch is the patron saint of Upper Austria, Linz, Bologna and Krakow, among others, as well as the patron saint of many professions that work with fire and water, such as blacksmiths, chimney sweeps, bakers, brewers, gardeners and, of course, firefighters.

According to legend, St. Florian was born in Zeiselmauer (Cannabiaca) in Lower Austria in the 3rd century, was a high official of the Roman governor of Noricum and a professing Christian. After his retirement he lived in St. Pölten (Aelium Cetium). In 304, when he learned of persecutions of Christians in Lorch (Lauriacum) in Upper Austria, he traveled to the city on River Enns and tried to assist the believers. But his prestige and influence could not help him, whereupon Florian himself suffered martyrdom. According to tradition, the monumental Augustinian Canon’s Monastery of St. Florian was built over his grave.

The present Baroque sculpture of the popular saint was created in Austria in the 18th century. Florian is depicted standing on a marbleized pedestal. The magnificent armor with long cloak and feather-adorned helmet is polychrome painted and partly leaf-gilded, as well as the attributes flag lance, water bucket and the burning house at the feet of the saint.

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