CIMA da Conegliano
(b. ca. 1459, Conegliano, d. 1517/18, Conegliano)

St Helena

c. 1495
Oil on panel, 40 x 32 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

The subject is the mother of the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, who adopted Christianity in 313 A.D. According to legend, she found in the Holy Land the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. Cima, a close follower of Giovanni Bellini, worked for most of his career in the Alpine region north of Venice. In the background of this perfectly preserved panel there is a landscape of the region near the artist's birthplace, Conegliano.