Florentine School, The Lame and Infirm Praying Before the Body of St. Barbara

15th century
Tempera on wood panel.
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome, Italy

The painting's title is provided by the museum label. Images with this subject are quite rare, but Caxton does write that "many miracles were showed" at her tomb, and in John the Stylite's text she prays that those who call on the Lord and herself will not only be forgiven their sins but will suffer "no plague of infection nor of cancer," and that lepers will be given recovery (Lewis, 83).

In picturing the body on an open catafalque the artist does not necessarily imply that it would be literally visible to the supplicants. Rather, its peacefulness and integrity (with no signs of the beheading) suggest the corporal and spiritual health that St. Barbara offers them.

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Photographed at the museum by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.