Saints Lucy and Agnes

The elegant figures of Saints Lucy and Agnes can be identified by their attributes. Lucy holds a dagger in her left hand, a symbol of her martyrdom, and in her right she holds a bowl with her two eyes, which, according to legend, she plucked out but which were miraculously restored. Agnes is depicted holding […]

The Execution of the Four Crowned Martyrs

The legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs refers to Christian sculptors working for the Emperor Diocletian (depicted on the left with crown and scepter) who refused his order to carve a statue of a pagan god. As punishment the emperor had the sculptors sealed alive in lead coffins and thrown into a river. This panel […]

The Baptism of Christ

Garofalo uses landscape elements to silhouette and emphasize the sacred figures. John the Baptist is placed against a dark bluff, which signifies his self-imposed isolation in the wilderness; in contrast Christ is placed in the lighter half of the composition, which underscores the divine nature of His baptism. The graceful elegance of the figures, coupled […]

Madonna and Christ Child

The representation of the Madonna and Christ Child was extremely popular during the Italian Renaissance. Works of art such as this were probably for private devotional use; most homes had at least one painting or sculpture with the image. These served to stimulate devotion, as they could be reflected upon on a daily basis.

Saint Bartholomew

St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, is identified by his attribute the knife; he was martyred by being flayed alive. This painting was one of thirty panels comprising a monumental, double-sided altarpiece for the church of Sant’Agostino in Perugia. A reconstruction of the altarpiece is displayed in the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, Perugia, which houses […]