(b. 1431, Isola di Cartura, d. 1506, Mantova)

St Euphemia

Distemper on canvas, 171 x 78 cm
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples

St Euphemia has been placed in a stone arch decorated with garlands of fruit and leaves. She has been portrayed in the immediate foreground, bringing her close to the viewer. With her direct gaze, the life-size figure, accompanied by a lion, is open to dialogue with the viewer standing in front of her.

St Euphemia was subjected to various forms of torture during the persecution of Christians under Emperor Diocletian. These are symbolized by a sword that has pierced her side and the lion biting her arm. The painting was damaged by fire in the late 18th century, so that the detail of the folds of her robe are no longer apparent.