Vincenzo Foppa
St. Peter Martyr Restores a Severed Limb

Portinari Chapel
Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio, Milan, Italy

This fresco illustrates Thomas of Lentino's account of a young man who went to confession with St. Peter Martyr and told him that he had kicked his mother. The saint remarked that it would be better not to have a foot than to kick one's mother with it. Taking this remark literally, the young man went home and cut off his foot. The pain caused him to cry out, so that his parents and the rest of the household came and saw what he had done. The father rushed to the saint and begged him to do something. Peter went to the young man, took the severed foot, made the sign of the cross, and re-attached it to the leg (Acta Sanctorum, April vol. 3, 693).

In Lentino's account the saint has everyone leave before the cure, with the exception of the parents and Peter's companion. But the fresco shows the companion, a boy, and three women. Most likely the woman in green is the mother. In their aprons and smocks, the other two appear to be servants in the house.

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