Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
The Last Communion of St. Lucy
Church of the Holy Apostles (Santi Apostoli), Venice
Although stabbed in the throat, St. Lucy was able before dying to speak a last sermon to the crowd and then to receive communion. Although the legends put her death in the 4th century, she is here shown taking the communion host on the tongue, a medieval custom that continued into the twentieth century. The priest's vestments are of course also contemporary with the painting.
On the low step in the foreground are the sword that stabbed St. Lucy and her traditional attribute, a pair of eyes on a plate.
The Golden Legend says that a church was built on the spot where St. Lucy died. Probably to reflect that belief, the church entrance pictured behind the saint is very similar to the Church of St. Lucy "Alla Badia" in Syracuse – both, however in the contemporary Rococo style rather than anything evoking the 4th century.
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Read more about St. Lucy.
Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.