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Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (1207–1231) was the daughter of King Andor of Hungary II and wife of Louis, Landgrave of Thuringia. After her husband’s death, she gave away her worldly possessions and turned the income from her dowry over to the building and running of a hospital in Marburg on the Lahn. Early hospitals were not medical institutions but places for the Christian care of the sick, the poor and the aged. The painting shows a hospital of the kind founded by Saint Elizabeth, with the saint, distinguished by a halo, offering a bowl of food and a tankard of drink to a man who sits up in bed. Next to the bed in the left foreground is a table covered by a green cloth, on which is a glass jug of water, and underneath the bed is a chamber pot.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Bringing Food for the Inmates of a Hospital
oil on copper
H 27.8 x W 20 cm
purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936