dated 1508, Basle
Height 72 cm, width 50 cm
Basle's medieval guilds were originally not just craft associations, but religious brotherhoods too, with charitable and welfare responsibilities. The so called spiritual guilds had close links with the city's churches; thus the altar of the confraternity of tailors and furriers had been in the Spitalkirche since 1352. The alms giving St Homobonus on the display panel of the Basle tailors' guild embodies the economic morality and lay piety of the guild brothers. His German name of Gotman (Goodman) is here attested for the first time. The cult of the pious 'good man' from Cremona who according to legend had been a well to do tailor and cloth merchant was confined to the area of Lombardy and Venice until the beginning of the C16, when it reached Basle through the Cremona trade in fustian cloth. The Basle tailors' guild soon adopted him as their patron saint.