Cardinal of Milan, he walks amongst those stricken by the terrible outbreak of plague suffered by the city in 1575. Kneeling, holding the cup to assuage the thirst of the sick, he has left his staff and mitre in the cathedral, to become just a man praying God to save his fellow men.
Saint Charles Borromeo, who was one of the most intransigent cardinals of the Council of Trent on questions of traditional liturgy and ecclesiastical discipline, could approach the unfortunate sufferers of the plague with an ascetic spirit and the love of a father for his people.
Founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of Saint Ambrose, and reformer of the Franciscan Order, Saint Charles Borromeo is also the Patron Saint of bankers all over the world.
A figure of this kind was bound to appeal to Dali’s mystical-metaphysical ideas, in accordance with his “chrematistic” view of things.