112. Jean-Joseph-Pascal Gay (1775-1832)

‘Ghostly Figures appearing in the Crypt of Saint Irene’

Not illustrated
Lyon, early 19th century
Size: 38 × 33 cm
Watercolour on paper

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon in the 2nd century, was born in Smyrna to Greek parents. He was known for his diatribes against the Gnostics, particularly those in the Rhone Valley whom he called ‘followers of Magus the Magician’. While he might appear the model of the fulminating theologian, he nevertheless wrote: ‘For the Spirit blows where it chooses’, so he must have known a thing or two. When he died he was buried in the church of Saint John, renamed Saint Irenaeus in his honour, where this ghostly scene takes place. His tomb and remains were destroyed by the Huguenots in 1562, which may be why he still wanders restless as a ghost.