Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Richard Leson

Second Advisor

Sarah Schaefer


Alexandre Cabanel, Auguste Saint-Hilaire, Church of Saint Jean-Baptiste, French academic painting, St. Elizabeth, St. Monica


The iconography employed by Alexandre Cabanel in the 1845 work St. Monica in a Landscape drastically deviates from the established artistic tradition utilized in other depictions of St. Monica in Christian art. Cabanel’s work depicts a female saint accompanied by a derelict young child. This thesis considers an alternative identity for this female saint, proposing that St. Elizabeth may be the definite subject of the work, accompanied by a young St. John the Baptist. The visual content of St. Monica in a Landscape is analyzed in conjunction with other works depicting St. Monica, as well as St. Elizabeth with a young St. John the Baptist. The patron of the works and the original site of placement are also examined. This iconographic study describes the varied interpretations of St. Monica in a Landscape, a work that embodies characteristics of St. Monica as well as St. Elizabeth.