As is true of all of Hans Memling’s paintings, the closer you look the more details you discover. And, if you look closely at the female figure on the outside left of the triptych, you will see something extraordinary – she has a beard. The female saint is known by many names. In English she is called Wilgefortis, in Dutch ‘Sint-Ontkommer’. An unusual name for a saint, and why does she have a beard anyway? According to legend, Saint Wilgefortis was a pious princess whose father, a pagan king, wanted to marry her off to another pagan king in Portugal. Because she had taken a vow of chastity, she prayed to God to help her get out of the marriage (hence in England she also used to be known as Uncumber, i.e. unhindered). God responded by giving her a beard. The story has a sad ending: her fiancé no longer wanted to marry her, and her father, in his rage, had her crucified.