Antonio Vivarini
St. Peter Martyr Healing the Leg of a Young Man

Circa 1450s
Tempera and gold on wood. From an altarpiece.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 37.163.4.

The story is told in Thomas of Lentino's Vita (Acta Sanctorum, April vol. 3, 693.) A young man told Peter in confession that he had kicked his mother. Peter remarked that it would be better to cut off one's foot than to do such a thing. Taking him literally, the young man went home and cut it off. Called to the house by the horrified parents, Peter came to the youth, knelt down, and prayed God for mercy. Then he made the Sign of the Cross over foot and re-attached it to the leg.

In the painting it is not just the leg but the whole shin that has been severed. We see Peter making the sign of the cross as he holds it to the thigh. In Lentino's account the saint has first excused everyone but the parents and his companion, but in the image the miracle is witnessed by the companion, a girl, and two women – one of whom presumably is the mother.

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