Saint Anthony of Padua was actually of Portuguese descent, born to a noble family from Lisbon. When he was fteen years old he became an Augustinian monk, changing into a Franciscan in 1221. As a preacher he traveled around Spain, northern Africa and Italy, where he even met Saint Francis. He taught theology in Bologna and later he toured France while exercising his pastoral ministry. He spent his nal years in Padua, where he died in 1231. After the sixteenth century, his worship reaches an enormous dimension, and he becomes one of the most popular and beloved saints, his image being widely spread through many media.
This interesting carving unites these iconographic elements and shows the saint watching the Child seated on the book he is holding in his left arm. It is a small-sized, high-quality sculpture, with a stylized canon that grants it an elegant, sophisticated aspect. e saint slightly turns around his neck in order to look at the Child, while he slightly bends his right leg and bears the weight on the left one. is causes a soft motion and in uences the plasticity in the imitation of the naturalistically achieved folds of the habit. He wears the characteristic Franciscan coarse woolen cloth and the short cowl of his order, fastened at the waist by the cincture with the knots of the order symbolically referring to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. e artist has managed to reproduce meticulously and naturally the volume and undulations of the rough, coarse Franciscan habit made of serge fabric, as well as the already discussed play of creases, wrinkles and falling folds of the habit, imitating the e ect caused on the heavy cloth by the cord tied around the waist as well as by the movement of the legs. us, the carving of the marked V-shaped fold at the chest is very characteristic, highlighting the deep furrow or central fold that enhances the e ects of chiaroscuro. is can also be clearly seen in the wrinkles of the lower part of the habit caused by the cloth falling down up to the feet on both sides.