MASTER M Z
Martyrdom of St Barbara1501
Coppe-plate engraving, 152 x 124 mm
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
St Barbara is a probably mythical saint who is mentioned in the Golden Legend, a medieval collection of saints' lives, and became a popular cult figure in the Middle Ages. Her father shut her up in a tower so that no man should see her, hence the attribute of a tower. The chalice she holds, a second attribute, is the symbol of her Christian faith, which Barbara maintained despite her father's furious opposition.