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Saint Agatha Attended by Saint Peter and an Angel in Prison. Alessandro Turchi

According to an early Christian legend, when a 3rd-century Roman official of Sicily desired the Christian woman Agatha, and she refused to yield to his advances, he had her tortured, and even ordered her breasts cut off. At night in prison, she was visited by a vision of Saint Peter and an angel, and her breasts were miraculously restored. 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.
Date between circa 1640 and circa 1645 (Baroque)
Medium oil on slate
Dimensions Painted surface H: 13 11/16 x W: 19 1/2 x Approx. D: 5/16 in. (34.7 x 49.5 x 0.8 cm)

Walters Art Museum
Accession number 37.552
Place of creation Rome, Italy (?)
Object history

Hood Blackwood, England, mid 18th century [mode of acquisition unknown]
Ann Blackwood Madox (Mrs. E. Madox), England, late 18th century, by gift
Henry Walters, Baltimore, prior to 1909 [mode of acquisition unknown]
1931: bequeathed to Walters Art Museum by Henry Walters

Exhibition history Going for Baroque. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995-1996. Alessandro Turchi : detto l'Orbetto 1578-1649. Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona. 1999.
Credit line Acquired by Henry Walters, before 1909
Inscriptions [Transcription] On wooden backing which holds the picture int he frame: This picture is the property of Anne Hood Blackwood given by her father, Hood Blackwood, April ye 18th, 178-, now Mrs. E. Madox 1791; [Inscriptions] On wooden backing are severl labels which tell the legend of St. Agatha
References Federico Zeri (1976) (in English) Italian paintings in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore: Walters Art Gallery, no. 315, pp. 443-444 OCLC: 2463997.

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