(b. 1528, Verona, d. 1588, Venezia)

St Mennas

c. 1560
Oil on canvas, 247 x 122 cm
Galleria Estense, Modena

This painting once belonged to the decorations of the organ in the church of San Geminiano in Venice, destroyed by Napoleon in 1807.

Mennas was an Egyptian Christian who served in the Roman army in Phrygia, later lived as a hermit and was beheaded c. 295 A.D. because of his faith. His undoubtedly striking presence is due to his self-assured pose. Supremely balanced, it seems as if the miles christianus, with his sword and halberd and gleaming armour, is about to step out of the niche.