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Saint Hugh in the refectory

  • 'Saint Hugh in the refectory'. Seville Museum of Fine Arts © Ministerio de Cultura

    'Saint Hugh in the refectory'. Seville Museum of Fine Arts © Ministerio de Cultura






Original title

San Hugo en el refectorio
Seville Museum of Fine Arts
Seville, Andalusia

Zurbarán received several major commissions from various monastic orders. This is one of a series of paintings for the Carthusian order.

The work was painted for the sacristy of the Carthusian monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas in Seville around 1655. It narrates the miracle which occurred in 1084 in the Carthusian monastery in Grenoble, after which the monks took the decision to renounce the consumption of meat. The scene shows the seven founding friars of the order presided by Saint Bruno.

The miracle occurred on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Saint Hugh, bishop of Grenoble, sent meat to the friars, who were discussing the possibility of perpetual abstinence. Through divine intervention, they fell into a deep sleep for 45 days. When Saint Hugh visited them, they awoke and saw with astonishment that the meat had turned into ash, and took this a sign that they should resume their lives with increased austerity.

Details of the work

Monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas (Seville)


262 x 307 cm.

Oil painting



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