Master of the Figdor Deposition: The martyrdom of saint Lucy (1505-1510)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

An altarpiece by an unknown late 15th century Dutch artist with the notname "Master of the Figdor Deposition". this painting was part of a larger altarpiece which was dedicated to saint Lucy of Syracuse. Saint Lucy (A.D. 283–304) was a saint from the 3rd century Christian persecutions of the roman emperor Diocletian. Much of her life is known from the Legenda Aurea (the lives of saints) by Jacobus de Voragine. According to the story her mother arranged her to marry a wealthy pagan but Lucy gave away her patrimony and her jewels to the poor. Her betrothed became angry about this and denounced Lucy to the governor of Syracuse. The governor ordered Lucy to burn a sacrifice to the image of the Roman emperor which Lucy refused. After her refusal the governor sentenced Lucy to be defiled in a brothel but when the guards wanted to take her away, they could move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. When the guards placed bundles of wood around Lucy and set on fire, Lucy would not burn. In the end Lucy was killed when a guard put a sword through her throat. The painting shows several episodes of her life, including the team of oxen, the fire and het death. The commissioner of the original altarpiece is not known but it is thought that a convent in Amsterdam dedicated to saint Lucy was the donor.Painting from 1505-1510