A few weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Simone Martini’s Altarpiece of Blessed Agostino Novello. Art critic Peter Plagens describes the saint flying to save a falling child with “superhero alacrity.” It’s an apt sketch of the picture and a catchy phrase in itself — so catchy that WSJ editors seized on it for the article’s title, “Future Saint as Medieval Superhero.” Cheese, anyone?
It’s hard to blame them for trying to relate. Besides, the saint as wonder-worker, rescuer, guy who comes to tame a wild beast, recover a vanished valuable or expose a murderous butcher with Columbo-esque serendipity has always been a popular figure. In these stories, the saint does resemble...READ MORE