'The Four Gospels' (Symbols of the Four Evangelists)
Type Other , Sculpture
The work in high releif is framed by a double arch of bricks above a table as if it would be an altarpiece. At the bottom is an eagle in flight with a halo, above the eagle is a bull shown in profile and also with wings and a halo, above the bull is a winged lion with a halo, at the top is a winged-human figure in flight with its hands together as if in prayer and a halo.
The work is a carved relief with rounded, simplified forms. The marks of the claw-toothed chisel are visible on most the work, giving it a rich texture and suggesting feathers and fur where appropriate, only the faces, horns and feet have been smoothed.
St Augustine's School was founded in 1885 and moved to new buildings on its present site in 1991. The school was blessed by the Archbishop of Birmingham in June 1991.
This work depicts the emblems of the four evangelist of the Christian church, saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, who wrote the four gospels. The emblem of the divine man was assigned to St Matthew in ancient times because his Gospel teaches the human nature of Christ. St Mark is symbolised by a winged lion because of the long-standing association between lions and royalty, the lion being the "king of the beasts", and St Mark's gospel preaches the royal dignity of Christ. St Luke is symbolised by a winged ox or bull, in reference to his gospel which discusses the sacrificial aspect of Christ's life. St John is symbolised traditionally by a rising eagle. St John is represented by an eagle because his gaze if reputed to have pierced further into Heaven than that of any man.(1) Ritchie's version showing the eagle with broadly spread wings provides a well-rounded base for the whole composition.
PMSA recording information