By Jean Marie Carey

The joint feast day of Saint Vincent of Saragossa, executed by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 304, and Saint Anastasius of Persia, a Christian convert killed in 628, is celebrated on 22 January. Though separated in life by centuries, the two were canonized shortly after their respective deaths in the pre-papal practices of the earlier Roman Catholic Church. They became, along with many other martyrs of Christianity, popular subjects of art during the Medieval and Renaissance collaborative patronage between artists and the church.

Reference: Ken Johnson. “Martyrs: Roasted, Beheaded or Maimed,” The New York Times. 10 June 2010.

Giovanni Bellini, Saint Vincent Altarpiece, 1464-1468. San Giovanni e Paolo, Venice. Photo: Scala archives

Anonymous, Saint Margaret of Antioch, c. 1475. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nr. 9823.

Guido Reni, San Sebastiano, c. 1601. Musée du Louvre, Paris, France, Nr. 40-08-07/11.

Allegretto Nuzi and Francescuccio Ghissi, Saints Catherine and Bartholomew, c. 1350. The National Gallery, London, Nr. NG5930.

Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, Martyrdom of St. James, c. 1405. Photo: Scala Archives.

Further Reading: Colum Hourihane. Looking Beyond: Visions, Dreams, and Insights in Medieval Art & History. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2010.

Lucy Grig. Making Martyrs in Late Antiquity. London: Duckworth, 2004.

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