Author: N / A
Material / technique: oil on canvas.
Dimensions: 71x55 cm.
St Ursula is a blessed virgin martyr who lived in the fourth century in Britain. The daughter of the British King who was a Christian, she was ordered to marry a pagan. Advised by an angel, she asked the man to wait for three years and left for a pilgrimage to Rome with her noble friends and visited the Pope. On her way back she stopped in Cologne, where the conquerors Huns wanted to marry her to their king. She rejected the proposal and all of them were shot dead with arrows.
St Ursula is depicted in royal clothes, wearing a crown, with a palm branch in one hand and a banner or arrows in the other hand. The arrow symbolises her death. A ship full of girls symbolises her pilgrimage with her friends.
When Gratian was the Caesar of Rome, a general called Maximus was fighting in Gaul or France. Having conquered the land of Armorica, he expelled all its population and gave the land to soldiers. These could not manage without women, so Maximus sent envoys to England to bring as many young girls as there were soldiers. The envoy collected 11,000 maidens and selected Ursula, the daughter of King Dionotus, for governor Conan. He put the girls onto the ships and took them to Gaul, but a storm at sea caused their boat to drift to German lands. As soon as they docked, the girls fell into the hands of Gaun, who ruled the German lands on behalf of Gratian. At the sight of the crowd of maidens, Gaun and his soldiers were very pleased and wanted to harm to them, but St Ursula shouted, ‘Girls, my friends! We are Catholics, let us not give in to those pagans, it’s better to die than be ridiculed by those infidels!’ All replied, ‘Good, good, let’s hold out until the last.’ The pagans were very angry at the girls and killed all of them. Their bodies were taken to the city of Cologne Agripino and buried. (Motiejus Valančius, „Žyvatai šventųjų“, Raštai 2, 2006, p. 285–287)
Reference: "The Lithuanian art collection of Jaunius Gumbis". Museum and Collector - 6. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2016, P. 272.
Exhibition: Exhibition of the collection of Lithuanian art of dr. Jaunius Gumbis "Collected and Preserved", September 2016 - January 2017, National Museum of Lithuania, Vilnius.
Published: "The Lithuanian art collection of Jaunius Gumbis". Museum and Collector - 6. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2016, P. 273.