Giambattista Tiepolo (attrib.)
The Virgin Appears to St. John Nepomuk

18th century
Oil on canvas
Church of St. Paul the Apostle ("San Polo"), Venice

The label in the church provides the date and tentatively suggests an attribution to Giambattista Tiepolo. According to Balbín's vita King Wenceslas IV demanded that John reveal what the queen had told him in the sacrament of confession, and the saint refused. He knew the king would want to kill him for this refusal, so he prayed before the statue of the Virgin of Boleslav that she ask her son to preserve his life as he had done, through her intercession, when he was a child (AASS, May vol. 3, 672). In Galluzzi's 1729 biography Mary replies, "Go, and be not afraid," and she instills in John "a breast of steel, a heart of bronze that he might stay constant and inflexible to the death against the unjust demands of the king" (29-30).

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