Friday, August 12, 2016

39 Works, Saint Agatha, Paintings from the Bible by the Old Masters, with footnotes

Francisco de Zurbarán, (1598–1664) 
Saint Agathe, c. 1630 and 1633
Oil on canvas
127 × 60 cm (50 × 23.6 in)
Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France

Francisco de Zurbarán (baptized November 7, 1598 – August 27, 1664) was a Spanish painter. He is known primarily for his religious paintings depicting monks, nuns, and martyrs, and for his still-lifes. Zurbarán gained the nickname Spanish Caravaggio, owing to the forceful, realistic use of chiaroscuro in which he excelled. More

The vast majority of Christian martyrdoms have no independent historical confirmation. From a number of different clues it is clear that stories of martyrdom were fabricated - some in the first millennium, the vast majority in the High Middle Ages. These fabricated stories were custom made for their audience, and what went down best were stories of steadfast martyrs, entirely innocent and virginal, dreadfully abused by monstrous and vindictive pagans. 

Lorenzo di Niccolò Gerini
Martyrdom of St. Agatha

Lorenzo di Niccolò or Lorenzo di Niccolò di Martino was an Italian painter active in Florence from 1391 to 1412. Often erroneously cited as the son of Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, with whom he realized some works, this artist transformed his style from one more reminiscent of Giotto to one more elegant and linear, similar to that of such artists as Lorenzo Monaco. Together with Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, he painted some frescoes in the Chapterhouse of the convent of San Francesco (Prato) and the panel Coronation of the Virgin, once in Santa Felicita. A slightly later work on the same subject for the Medici Chapel in Santa Croce, Florence, dated to 1409 in the predella, today is split between its original location and the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan. More

These martyrs suffered a vast range of tortures. They survived long after any normal person would have died, suffering unspeakable agonies. Often God miraculously turned the tortures against the evil perpetrator, who usually died in front of his victim. 

G. Rubini (1655 Cortemaggiore - Piacenza 1735)
Martyrdom of St. Agatha, c. 1685-1699
Church of St. Agatha - Rivergaro

Francesco Guarino
Agata in front of Quinziano (1637)
Church of St. Agatha Irpinia (Solofra)

"This work depicts the theological dispute between S. Agata and the Roman governor, is the workshop of Francesco Guarino and affected the climate of the Collegiate works fact S. Agata is the same model of woman in profile of the Announcement to Zechariah. " More

Francesco Guarino or Guarini (1611-1651 or 1654) , see below

Andrea Vaccaro, (baptised on 8 May 1604 – 18 January 1670) 
Sant 'Agata 
Oil on unlined canvas
FONDAZIONE FEDERICO ZERI - Università di Bologna

Andrea Vaccaro (baptised on 8 May 1604 – 18 January 1670) see below

A massively disproportionate number of these victims were nubile young women whose suffering included being stripped and humiliated. With the benefit of modern knowledge it is easy to identify sadomasochistic tendencies in these stories and associated art.  More

Andrea Vaccaro, (baptised on 8 May 1604 – 18 January 1670) 
Saint Agatha, Ca. 1635
Oil on unlined canvas
128.5 x 101 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado

Andrea Vaccaro (baptised on 8 May 1604 – 18 January 1670) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period. Vaccaro was in his time one of the most successful painters in Naples, a city then under Spanish rule. Very successful and valued in his lifetime, Vaccaro and his workshop produced many religious works for local patrons as well as for export to Spanish religious orders and noble patrons. More

Two cities in Sicily, Palermo and Catania, dispute the honor of having given birth to St. Agatha; what is certain is that it was martyred in Catania, an ancient port city on Sicily's east coast., under the Emperor Decius. More

Saint Agatha of Sicily (231 AD – 251 AD) is a Christian saint and virgin martyr Agatha was born at Catania or Palermo, Sicily, and she was martyred in approximately 251. She is one of seven women, who, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

Niccolo De Simone
Saint Agatha
Oil on canvas
104.7 x 75.9 cm. (41.2 x 29.9 in.)

Niccolò De Simone, (died circa 1677) was a Flemish painter, active during 1636-1654 in Naples, Italy. He was born in Liege. His style suggests he was in the circle or influenced by Massimo Stanzione, Bernardo Cavallino, and Mattia Preti. Bernardo de' Dominici claims he was also painting in Spain and Portugal. More

Paul Gismondi
Sant'Agata in the brothel of Aphrodisias, c. 1636
Fresco in the church of St. Agatha of the Goths (Rome)

Massimo Stanzione
St. Agatha in Prison

Massimo Stanzione (ca. 1586 – ca. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter, mainly active in Naples. Born a Frattamaggiore in 1585, Massimo was greatly influenced by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The thing that distinguished Massimo’s art from Carravaggism was that he combined Caravaggio’s dramatically lit and brutally realistic style with the classical and lyrical manner of Bolognesi painters, earning him the nickname of the Napolitan Guido Reni.

His first trip to Rome was in 1617 to 1618, where he worked in Santa Maria della Scala, where traces of his work remain. He returned to the Eternal City several times between 1620 and about 1630. In 1621, pope Gregory XV awarded him the title of Knight of the Golden Spur and in 1627, he received the title of Knight of Saint George and Urban VIII invested him with the Order of Christ which, in Spain, gave him the title Caballero Máximo.

Naples was the third largest city in 17th century Europe after Paris and London. In 1630, it was a center of opportunity for artistic commissions. Many of these artistic commissions were sought after by the Spanish Viceroys who maintained positions of political power in Naples at this time. Other art enthusiasts arrived from various Mediterranean ports in Naples looking for artistic expertise. Stanzione along with Bernardo Cavallino and most importantly Artemisia Gentileschi represented a new and more graceful painting style.

Stanzione joined Artemisia daily to observe her while she painted and may have imitated her coloring style. However, later writers credited Artemisia with influencing Stanzione’s rich light effects and greater classicizing. Gentileschi and Stanzioni collaborated on certain works such as Birth of St. John the Baptist for Philip IV’s Buen Retiro Palace. The two artists compromised their styles; Gentileschi subdued her realist style of tenebrism and substituted it with more even lighting and classical composition, and the two succeeded in creating an agreeable collection. Stanzione’s Saint Agatha In Prison along with his Young Saint John the Baptist were his first known works. Those works combine the influence of Reni and Domenichino among others to create a composition of “lyric classicism”. More

Jean Colombe, (1430 / 35-1493)
Martyrdom of St. Agatha
Part of Manuscript: "Louis Hours of Laval - Tours Bourges or.", c. 1470 -1475?
Parchment, painting on paper
 National Library of France

Jean Colombe (b. Bourges ca. 1430; d. ca. 1493) was a French miniature painter and illuminator of manuscripts. He is best known for his work in Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. He is the brother of the sculptor Michel Colombe.

In 1470–1472, Colombe created the miniatures of the Hours of Louis de Laval; around 1475, he illuminated the crusader chronicles, Les Passages d'oultre mer du noble Godefroy de Bouillon, du bon roy Saint Loys et de plusieurs vertueux princes, by Sébastien Mamerot. Both works had been commissioned by Louis de Laval. Between 1485 and 1490, Jean Colombe completed the decoration of the Très Riches Heures which had been left unfinished in 1416. He executed the image for the month of November (below the zodiac arch), completed the Limbourg brothers' design for September, and retouched other images. More

Circle of Andrea Vaccaro (Naples 1604-1670)
Saint Agatha
Oil on canvas
28¼ x 23½ in. (71.7 x 59.6 cm.)

Andrea Vaccaro (Naples 1604-1670), see above

Saint Agatha is the patron saint of Catania, Molise, Malta, San Marino, and Zamarramala, a municipality of the Province of Segovia in Spain. She is also the patron saint of breast cancer patients, martyrs, wet nurses, bell-founders, bakers, fire, earthquakes, and eruptions of Mount Etna. More

Felice Ficherelli, (1605 – 1660, Italian)
The Martyrdom Of St. Agatha

Felice Ficherelli (30 August 1605 – 5 March 1660) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, born in San Gimignano and active mainly in Tuscany. Among Ficherelli's early patrons was Conte Bardi, who persuaded Ficherelli to move to Florence and to study with the painter Jacopo da Empoli. Empoli's influence is evident in the sumptuous fabrics seen in many of Ficherelli's works. Ficherelli was nicknamed "Felice Riposo" for his retiring nature. More

In the legend of her life, we are told that she belonged to a rich, important family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted to marry her or have sex with her. One of these men, Quintian, was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to acquiesce. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge - - himself. He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: "Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil."

Andrea Vaccaro, (1604–1670) 
Martyrdom of St Agatha, c. 1635-1640
Oil on canvas
122 × 159 cm (48 × 62.6 in)
Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France

Andrea Vaccaro (Naples 1604-1670), see above

Legend tells us that Quintian imprisoned her in a brothel in order to get her to change her mind. Quintian brought her back before him after she had suffered a month of assault and humiliation in the brothel, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus. 

Andrea Vaccaro, (baptised on 8 May 1604 – 18 January 1670) 
St. Agatha in prison, XVII century
Oil on canvas
104 x 127 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado

Andrea Vaccaro (Naples 1604-1670), see above

Francesco Guarino, (1611 - 1651) 
Saint Agatha, c. 1640
Oil on Canvas
32.5 x 27.5"
Naples, Museo di S. Martino

Francesco Guarino or Guarini (1611-1651 or 1654) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in the mountainous area east of Naples. He was born in Sant'Andrea Apostolo, today a frazione of Solofra in the Province of Avellino, Campania, and died in Gravina di Puglia. He was a pupil first locally of his father, Giovanni Tommaso Guarino, before moving to Naples to work in the studio of Massimo Stanzione. In Naples, like many of his contemporaries there, he was influenced by the style of Caravaggio. In his selection of models who appear to have been plucked from the streets of Naples, he recalls the style of Bernardo Cavallino, the fellow-pupil of Stanzioni. Among his masterpieces are the works for the Collegiata di San Michele Arcangelo in Solofra. More

Maschio Angioino, Napoli
The Martyrdom of Sant'Agata
Oil on canvas
(Photo by New York Scugnizzo)
Central Naples, Italy.

Jehan Bellegambe, (1470-1534)
The Martyrdom of St. Agatha
Oil on canvas
0.600 m. x 0.440 m
Musée de la Chartreuse

Jehan Bellegambe or Jean Bellegambe (sometimes Belgamb or Belganb) (ca. 1470 – ca. June 1535–March 1536) was a French-speaking Flemish painter of religious paintings, triptychs and polyptychs, the most important of which are now held at Douai, Arras, Aix, Lille, Saint Petersburg and Chicago. He was known as the 'master of colours' for the transparency and interplay of his colours. He is known as Jehan Bellegambe the elder to distinguish him from his descendents who were also called Jehan. More

Quintian sent her to prison, instead of back to the brothel -- a move intended to make her more afraid, but which probably was a great relief to her.

Paolo Veronese
Detail from Saint Agatha, c. 16th Century
Oil on canvas

Paolo Caliari, known as Paolo Veronese (1528 – 19 April 1588) was an Italian Renaissance painter based in Venice, most famous for large history paintings of both religious and mythological subjects, such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi. With Titian, who was at least a generation older, and Tintoretto, ten years older, he was one of the "great trio that dominated Venetian painting of the cinquecento" or 16th-century late Renaissance. Veronese is known as a supreme colorist, and after an early period with Mannerist influence turned to a more naturalist style influenced by Titian.

His most famous works are elaborate narrative cycles, executed in a dramatic and colorful style, full of majestic architectural settings and glittering pageantry. His large paintings of biblical feasts, crowded with figures, painted for the refectories of monasteries in Venice and Verona are especially famous, and he was also the leading Venetian painter of ceilings. Most of these works remain in situ, or at least in Venice, and his representation in most museums is mainly composed of smaller works such as portraits that do not always show him at his best or most typical.

He has always been appreciated for "the chromatic brilliance of his palette, the splendor and sensibility of his brushwork, the aristocratic elegance of his figures, and the magnificence of his spectacle", but his work has been felt "not to permit expression of the profound, the human, or the sublime", and of the "great trio" he has often been the least appreciated by modern criticism. Nonetheless, "many of the greatest artists ... may be counted among his admirers, including Rubens, Watteau, Tiepolo, Delacroix and Renoir". More

When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, Quintian had her tortured. He refused her any medical care but God gave her all the care she needed in the form of a vision of St. Peter. 

St. Peter comes to St. Agatha's prison cell in the guise of an old man. (To the viewer, however, he is identifiable by the square beard and the keys in his left hand.) He offers to heal Agatha with ointments carried in by "a boy carrying a light." 

As usual in her portraits, Agatha has long, blond hair and holds a palm branch in her left hand. She points to Heaven because "I have my Lord Jesus Christ, and he by a single word can cure everything … If he so wills, he can cure me instantly." Peter reveals himself and says she has been healed in Jesus' name; then Agatha prays in thanksgiving and finds that her breasts are restored. More

Paolo Veronese
Saint Agatha in Prison, c. 1566
In the left nave of the church of San Pietro Martire (St. Peter of Verona) at Murano (Venice, Italy)

Veronese seems to be picturing the moment in the Golden Legend when Peter reveals himself to Agatha. Up till then, she has been cool to the old man's offer of help, explaining that she looks only to Christ as her healer. This seems to be expressed in the way she pulls her body away from Peter and the angel, her left arm gathering up her garments as if to shield her wounded chest from them. Then his reply, "I am his apostle…know that you are healed" is expressed in the right hand that points heavenward and the left that holds "the keys of the kingdom" that are his attribute".

Paolo Caliari, known as Paolo Veronese (1528 – 19 April 1588) , see above

Giovanni Lanfranco, (1582–1647)
St Peter Healing St Agatha, circa 1614
Oil on canvas
Height: 100 cm (39.4 in). Width: 133 cm (52.4 in).
Galleria nazionale di Parma

Giovanni Lanfranco (26 January 1582 – 30 November 1647) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period. He was born in Parma, and was placed as a page in the household of Count Orazio Scotti. His talent for drawing allowed him to begin an apprenticeship with the Bolognese artist Agostino Carracci, brother of Annibale Carracci, working alongside fellow Parmese Sisto Badalocchio in the local Farnese palaces. When Agostino died in 1602, both young artists moved to Annibale's large and prominent Roman workshop, which was then involved in working on the Galleria Farnese in the Palazzo Farnese gallery ceiling. Lanfranco is considered to have contributed to the panel of Polyphemus and Galatea (replica in Doria Gallery) and some minor works in the room.

Afterwards, while still technically a member of the Carracci studio of Carracci, Lanfranco, along with Guido Reni and Francesco Albani, frescoed the Herrera (San Diego) Chapel in San Giacomo degli Spagnoli (1602–1607). He also participated in the fresco decoration of San Gregorio Magno and of the Cappella Paolina in Santa Maria Maggiore. More

Giovanni Martinelli, (Montevarchi, Arezzo 1600 - Florence 1659)
St Agatha Cured By St Peter In Prison

Giovanni Martinelli (Montevarchi, Arezzo 1600 - Florence 1659) was an Italian, Baroque era painter active mainly in Florence. On the 400th anniversary of his birth, the artist finally received the acknowledgement he merits; He was the subject, first, of a monographic volume containing various essays dedicated to aspects of his brilliant sacred and profane production, both on canvas and in frescoes, and, subsequently, of an exhibition organized by the Uffizi in his native town.

Martinelli started his apprenticeship in the studio of Jacopo Ligozzi in Florence, and stayed there until 1625. Though there is no documented trace of the artist during the following ten years, he most likely sojourned in Rome, beginning a long and profitable period of study. 

Martinelli painted allegories characterized by the prevailing influence of Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi as well as the French Vouet and Valentin. The faces of the protagonists in the paintings of those years are rendered with exceptional clarity, of Caravaggesque derivation, and illuminated by extraordinarily clear, cold colour tones.

In 1636, Martinelli began to paint more complex allegories and to darken the range of colour tones. Although devoid of any chronological reference, the paintings made in this stylistic phase clearly distinct themselves from the ones created in the earlier periods. More

Alessandro Turchi,  (1578–1649)
Saint Agatha Attended by Saint Peter and an Angel in Prison, circa 1640 and circa 1645
Oil on slate
H: 13 11/16 x W: 19 1/2
Walters Art Museum

The gray stone of the prison wall was created by letting the slate show through, and it forms a background for the night scene, illuminated by a torch. As opposed to canvas and wood, slate gave a painting almost unlimited durability and the same kind of permanence as sculpture. More

Alessandro Turchi (1578 – 22 January 1649) was an Italian painter of the early Baroque, born and active mainly in Verona, and moving late in life to Rome. He also went by the name Alessandro Veronese or the nickname L'Orbetto. More

Simon Vouet, (1590–1649)
Saint Peter Visiting Saint Agatha in Prison, circa 1624
129.8 × 183.2 cm (51.1 × 72.1 in)

Simon Vouet (9 January 1590 – 30 June 1649) was a French painter and draftsman, who today is perhaps best remembered for helping to introduce the Italian Baroque style of painting to France. More

Francesco Rustici, said Rustichino
Sant'Agata visited by St. Peter in Prison, 1630 ca.
Caltagirone, Capuchin Church

Giovan Francesco Rustici, or Giovanni Francesco Rustici, (1475–1554) was an Italian Renaissance painter and sculptor. He was born into a noble family of Florence, with an independent income. Rustici profited from study of the Medici sculptures in the garden at San Marco, and Lorenzo de' Medici placed him in the studio of Verrocchio. After Verrocchio's departure, Giovan placed himself with Leonardo da Vinci, who had also trained in Verocchio's workshop. He shared lodgings with Leonardo while he was working on the bronze figures for the Baptistry. At this time, Pomponius Gauricus, in De sculptura (1504), named him one of the principal sculptors of Tuscany, the peer of Benedetto da Maiano, Andrea Sansovino and Michelangelo. It may have been made in France, perhaps in the circle of Rustici, who entered Francis I's service in 1528.

At the time of the siege of Florence, 1528, he went to France, where he was pensioned by King Francis I but after the king's death died in poverty at Tours. More

Jacopo Ligozzi (1547–1627)
Martyrdom of St. Agatha, 1600 ca.
Piazza Armerina Cathedral

Jacopo Ligozzi (1547–1627) was an Italian painter, illustrator, designer, and miniaturist. His art can be categorized as late-Renaissance and Mannerist styles. Born in Verona, he was the son of the artist Giovanni Ermano Ligozzi, and part of a large family of painters and artisans. After a time in the Habsburg court in Vienna, where he displayed drawings of animal and botanical specimens, he was invited to come to Florence and became one of the court artists for the Medici.
In 1574 he became head of the Accademia e Compagnia delle Arti del Disegno, the officially patronized guild of artists, which was often called to advise on diverse projects. He served Francesco I, Ferdinando I, Cosimo II and Ferdinando II, Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Late in life, he was named director of the grand-ducal Galleria dei Lavori, a workshop providing designs for artworks made mainly for export: embroidered textiles and for the newly popular medium of pietre dure, mosaics of semiprecious stones and colored marbles. He died in Florence. More

Filippo Paladini
Martyrdom of St. Agatha, c. 1605
Catania Cathedral

Filippo Paladini , also known as Philip Benedict Paladini ( Sieve (Italy) , 1544 - Mazzarino , 1614 ), was an Italian painter. He was one of the last masters of the late mannerism Tuscan, not immune from the influence of Caravaggio .

After some trouble with the law, in 1590 he fled to the island of Malta , where he stayed for five years. Subsequently, he become a guest at the court of Prince Branciforte of Mazarin, where he died in 1614 . Many Sicilian churches retain his paintings, made ​​during the last years of life.

He has been confused in the past with the painter Filippo di Lorenzo Paladini from Pistoia (who died in Pisa in 1608), author of the frescoes on the façade of the Clock Palace Pisa, completed after his death by Giovanni Stefano Maruscelli. More

Giambattista Tiepolo
The martyrdom of Saint Agatha
Altarpiece at the Museo Antoniano

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (March 5, 1696 – March 27, 1770), see above

Andrea Vaccaro, (Naples 1604–1670)
Saint Agatha
Oil on canvas
135 x 104 cm
Dorotheum,  Wien, Austria

Andrea Vaccaro (Naples 1604-1670), see above

17th century Anonymous painter, 
The martyrdom of Saint Agatha of Sicily (detail)
National Museum of San Marino

When she was tortured again, Saint Agatha died after saying a final prayer: "Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul."

Sebastiano del Piombo (1485–1547)
Martyrdom of Saint Agatha, c. 1520
Oil on panel
127 × 178 cm (50 × 70.1 in)
Pitti Palace, Firenze, Italy

Sebastiano del Piombo (c. 1485 – 21 June 1547), byname of Sebastiano Luciani, was an Italian painter of the High Renaissance and early Mannerist periods famous as the only major artist of the period to combine the coloring of the Venetian school in which he was trained with the monumental forms of the Roman school.

His nickname derived from the lucrative Papal appointment as Keeper of the Seal, which he held from 1531. Never a very disciplined or productive painter, his artistic productivity fell still further after this, which committed him to attend on the pope most days, and travel with him. He now painted mostly portraits, and relatively few works of his survive compared to his great contemporaries in Rome. This limited his involvement with the Mannerist style of his later years.

Having achieved success as a lutanist when young, he turned to painting and trained with Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione. When he first went to Rome he worked with Raphael and then became one of the few painters to get on well with Michelangelo, who tried to promote his career by encouraging to compete for commissions against Raphael.

He painted portraits and religious subjects in oils, and once he was established avoided the large fresco schemes that took up so much of the time of Raphael and Michelangelo. His subsequent influence was limited by his lack of prominent pupils, compared to Raphael at least, and relatively little dissemination of his works in print copies. More

Francesco Guarino, (1637-1640)
St Agatha's Martyrdom
St. Agata Cathedral Association Catania

Francesco Guarino or Guarini (1611-1651 or 1654) see above

Caitlin Karolczak
St Agatha

Giovanni di Paolo 
St. Agatha, c. 15th century 
Tempera on wood, gold ground 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Portraits of St. Agatha in the West are readily identified by the presence of a platter holding her severed breasts, as at right. Sometimes she also holds the pincers used to remove them.

Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia (c. 1403–1482) was an Italian painter, working primarily in Siena. He may have apprenticed with Taddeo di Bartolo, becoming a prolific painter and illustrator of manuscripts, including Dante's texts.

He was one of the most important painters of the 15th century Sienese School. His early works show the influence of earlier Sienese masters, but his later style was more individual, characterized by cold, harsh colours and elongated forms. His style also took on the influence of International Gothic artists such as Gentile da Fabriano. Many of his works have an unusual dreamlike atmosphere, such as the surrealistic Miracle of St. Nicholas of Tolentino painted about 1455 and now housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while his last works, particularly Last Judgment, Heaven, and Hell from about 1465 and Assumption painted in 1475, both at Pinacoteca Nazionale (Siena), are grotesque treatments of their lofty subjects. Giovanni's reputation declined after his death but was revived in the 20th century. More

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
The Martyrdom of St. Agatha, about 1750
(Altarpiece from S. Agata, Lendinara) 

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (March 5, 1696 – March 27, 1770), also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo, was an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice. He was prolific, and worked not only in Italy, but also in Germany and Spain.
Successful from the beginning of his career, he has been described by Michael Levey as "the greatest decorative painter of eighteenth-century Europe, as well as its most able craftsman." More

Because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was to have her breasts cut off, she was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. It is thought that blessing of the bread that takes place on her feast may have come from the mistaken notion that she was carrying loaves of bread.

Francesco Cairo, (26 September 1607 – 27 July 1665) 
The Martyrdom of Saint Agnes, c. 1634-5
Oil on Canvas

Francesco Cairo (26 September 1607 – 27 July 1665) was an Italian Baroque painter active in Lombardy and Piedmont. He was born and died in Milan. It is not known where he obtained his early training though he is strongly influenced by the circle of il Morazzone, in works such as the Saint Teresa altarpiece in the Certosa di Pavia.

In 1633, Cairo moved to Turin to work as a court painter. Between 1637–1638, Cairo travelled to Rome, where he encounters the works of Pietro da Cortona, Guido Reni and of the Caravaggisti. He returns to Lombardy to complete altarpieces for the Certosa of Pavia and a church at Casalpusterlengo. Between 1646–1649, he returns to Turin, and paints an altarpiece for Savigliano and the church of San Salvario. He is also known as Il Cavalière del Cairo, because in Turin, he received the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus in recognition of his merit.

Many of his works are eccentric depictions of religious ecstasies; the saints appear liquefied and contorted by piety. He often caps them with exuberant, oriental turbans. More

Because she was asked for help during the eruption of Mount Etna she is considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is also considered the patroness of bellmakers for an unknown reason -- though some speculate it may have something to do with the fact that bells were used as fire alarms. More

Giulio Campi, (1500 – 5 March 1572)
The Burial of St. Agatha, c.  1537
Basilica di Sant'Agata (Cremona)

Giulio Campi (1500 – 5 March 1572) was an Italian painter and architect. The eldest of a family of prominent painters, Campi was born at Cremona. His father Galeazzo (1475–1536) taught him the first lessons in art.

In 1522, in Mantua, he studied painting, architecture, and modelling under Giulio Romano. He visited Rome, became an ardent student of the antique, and like Bernardino he combined a Lombard and Roman traditions. He collaborated on some works with Camillo Boccaccino, the son of Boccaccio Boccaccino, with whom Campi may also have received training.

When he was just twenty-seven Giulio executed for the church of Sant'Abondio his masterpiece, a Virgin and Child with Sts Celsus and Nazarus, a decoration masterly in the freedom of its drawing and in the splendour of its color. Many of his fresco works are housed in churches of Cremona, Mantua, Milan and in the church of Saint Margaret's, in his native town. Among his chief works are the Descent from the Cross in San Sigismondo at Cremona, and the frescoes in the dome of San Girolamo at Mantua. He was involved in the reconstruction and decoration of the church of Santa Rita in Cremona. 

He died in Cremona in 1572. More

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 in Caravaggio – 18 July 1610) 
Sant'Agata greater altar, c. 1519
(The Virgin and Child, between S. John, St. Joseph, St. Jerome and a holy bishop (Augustine?)

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 in Caravaggio – 18 July 1610) was an Italian painter active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1592 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on Baroque painting.
Caravaggio trained as a painter in Milan under Simone Peterzano who had himself trained under Titian. In his twenties Caravaggio moved to Rome where there was a demand for paintings to fill the many huge new churches and palazzos being built at the time. It was also a period when the Church was searching for a stylistic alternative to Mannerism in religious art that was tasked to counter the threat of Protestantism. Caravaggio's innovation was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of chiaroscuro which came to be known as tenebrism (the shift from light to dark with little intermediate value).
He gained attention in the art scene of Rome in 1600 with the success of his first public commissions, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew. Thereafter he never lacked commissions or patrons, yet he handled his success poorly. He was jailed on several occasions, vandalized his own apartment, and ultimately had a death sentence pronounced against him by the Pope after killing a young man, possibly unintentionally, on May 29, 1606. He fled from Rome with a price on his head. He was involved in a brawl in Malta in 1608, and another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. This encounter left him severely injured. A year later, at the age of 38, he died under mysterious circumstances in Porto Ercole in Tuscany, reportedly from a fever while on his way to Rome to receive a pardon.
Famous while he lived, Caravaggio was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. More

Master of Sant'Agata di Castroreale,
Sant'Agata and stories of her life, 1410 ca.
Castroreale, Pinacoteca di Santa Maria degli Angeli

Festival of Saint Agatha – Ph. Fallica

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