Giambattista Pittoni, The Emperor Orders Sacrifice to the Idols

Beginning of the 18th century
Church of San Stae, Venice

"San Stae" is "St. Eustace" in the Venetian dialect. This painting is one of a series in the sacristy picturing the life of this saint.

In this painting Eustace is dressed as a military officer, which he was when he returned from a successful battle against barbarians to the court of the Emperor Hadrian. But because he has refused to sacrifice to the idol on the altar, Hadrian orders him to be taken off for execution.

Eustace's sword and shield lie in the foreground. The bronze idol on the altar is an image of Jupiter holding the lightning bolts that serve as his attribute. Presumably the man in black on the far left is a Roman priest.

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