E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Patron saint of painters and physicians. Tradition says he painted a portrait of the Virgin Mary. From Col. iv. 14 he is supposed to have been a physician.
St. Luke, in Christian art, is usually represented with an ox lying near him, and generally with painting materials. Sometimes he seems engaged painting a picture of the Virgin and infant Saviour, his descriptions of the early life of the Saviour being more minute than that of the other envangelists. Metaphrastus mentions the skill of St. Luke in painting; John of Damascus speaks of his portrait of the Virgin (p. 631: Paris, 1712). Many pictures still extant are attributed to St. Luke; but the artist was probably St. Luke, the Greek hermit; for certainly these meagre Byzantine productions were not the works of the evangelist. (See Lanzi: Storia Pittorica dell Italia, ii. 10.)
St. Lukes Club or The Virtuosis. An artists club, established in England by Sir Antonio Vandyke, and held at the Rose Tavern Fleet Street. There was an academy of St. Luke founded by the Paris artists in 1391; one at Rome, founded in 1593, but based on the Compagnia di San Luca of Florence, founded in 1345; a similar one was established at Sienna in 1355.
St. Lukes Summer, called by the French lété de S. Martin; hence the phrase Lété de la S. Denis à la S. Martin, from October 9th to November 11th, meaning generally the latter end of autumn.
. St. Lukes short summer lived these men,
Nearing the goal of threescore years and ten.
Morris: Earthly Paradise (March).
As light as St. Lukes bird (i.e. an ox). Not light at all, but quite the contrary. St. Luke is generally represented writing, while behind him is an ox, symbolical of sacrifice. The whole tableau means that Luke begins his gospel with the priest sacrificing in the Temple.
Matthew is symbolised by a man, because he begins his gospel with the manhood of Jesus as a descendant of David; Mark, by a lion, because he begins his gospel with the baptism in the wilderness; John, by an eagle, because he begins his gospel by soaring into heaven, and describing the pre-existing state of the Logos.