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

Conversion of St Pantaleon

Oil on canvas, 277 x 160 cm
San Pantalon, Venice

St Pantaleon was such a famous doctor that Emperor Diocletian himself chose him for his own doctor. Pantaleon was a Christian, but the bad influence from the pagan court caused him to give up his Christian faith entirely. A holy priest made him realize what a sin he had committed. Pantaleon listened to him, detested his sin and joined the Church once more. To make up for what he had done, he greatly desired to suffer and die for Jesus. In the meantime, he imitated Our Lord's charity by taking care of poor sick people without any charge for his medical services.

When the Emperor Diocletian began his persecution, Pantaleon was accused of being a Christian. He was given the choice of denying his Faith or being put to death. No torture could force Pantaleon to deny his Faith.

In Veronese's painting we have a challenging confrontation of human medicine with divine, and the healing of the body with the healing of the soul. The good parish priest solicitously support the poisoned youth and seems to reiterate that the illumination of grace does not exempt the believer from the duty to perform good works.