Highlights of the month

The martyrdom of St Agatha

Giovanni Baglione (1566-1643)
Late 16th – early 17th century
Oil on canvas
284 x 196
Europe Gallery – Mobility, Connections, Directions
The famous Italian artist and art historian, Giovanni Baglione (1566-1643), painted this ‘Martyrdom of St Agatha’ which is on display at MUŻA. Composed and dignified, the brightly lit female martyr quietly suffers the shearing of her breasts, one already in the grip of the instrument’s blades, the other soon to be, as one of the two executioners prepares to proceed to perform this act of torture. Hers is feminine purity surrounded by rough manliness. Like many other artists, Baglione gives us a ‘sanitised’ and unrealistic interpretation of what in reality would have been a horrible and traumatic event to watch. This idea is prompted by the desire to highlight St Agatha’s self-control and unshakeable principles that guided her profession of the Christian faith.