It’s August 10, the feast day of Saint Lawrence. Who is he and how to recognize him in art? Lawrence was a deacon of the Christian Church in 3rd Century Rome. The Roman Emperor of that time prosecuted the Christians and ordered Lawrence to hand over all the riches of the Church. Lawrence thought differently and quickly gave everything away to the poor of the city. When the Emperor asked him where the treasures were, Lawrence answered, while pointing at the poor: “Look, those are the true treasures of the Church”.
That act of charity was not very well received by the Roman Emperor and Lawrence was put to death by being roasted on a BBQ type of gridiron. After a while on the grill, Lawrence made his famous cheerful remark, “I’m well done. Turn me over!”. And so he became an important martyr and the patron saint for cooks, chefs and comedians.
The grill became the symbol of Saint Lawrence and that’s the most easy way to recognize him in art. Quite a few “San Lorenzo” churches in Rome are dedicated to this saint. The grill iron can still be seen in the Basilica of San Lorenze in Lucina, Rome. And the name of Saint Lawrence is now all over the world. The French landed on August 10, 1535 in the estuary of the Great Lakes between Canada and the USA and they named it the Gulf and River of Saint Lawrence.