St. Ambrose 339-97, by Matthias Stomer, c. 1633-39
St. Ambrose 339-97, by Matthias Stomer, c. 1633-39 (Oil on canvas).
This painting, by the 17th century Dutch painter Matthias Stomer, commemorates one of the most memorable scenes from Augustine’s Confessions (6.3), in which Augustine encounters St. Ambrose reading silently. Although silent reading was certainly not unknown in antiquity (Plutarch depicts Alexander the Great reading to himself, for example), Ambrose’s habit of reading silently as part of spiritual contemplation struck Augustine as entirely new.
Image in the Public Domain.