Bartholomew the Apostle
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The festival of St. Bartholomew is celebrated on August 24 in the western Church and on June 11 in the Eastern churches. The Armenian Apostolic Church honours Saint Bartholomew, along with Saint Thaddeus as their patron saint. The Coptic Church remembers him on January 1. The festival in August has been a traditional occasion for markets and fairs; such a fair serves as the scene for Bartholomew Fair, a play by Ben Jonson.
Art and Literature
In works of art he is often represented with a large knife, or, as in Michelangelo's Last Judgment, with his own skin hanging over his arm. Tradition holds that in Armenia he was flayed alive and then crucified upside down. This fate has led to him being adopted as the patron saint of tanners.
Saint Bartholomew plays a part in Francis Bacon's Utopian tale The New Atlantis. The tale is about a mythical isolated land Bensalem populated by a people dedicated to reason and natural philosophy. Some twenty years after the ascension of Christ the people of Bensalem found the arc floating off their shore. The arc contained a letter as well as the books of the Old and New Testaments. The letter was from Bartholomew the Apostle and declared that an angel told him to set the arc and its contents afloat. Thus the scientists of Bensalem received the revelation of the Word of God.