Hieronymus FRANCKEN The beheading of Saint Barbara
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The beheading of Saint Barbara
Oil on panel en grisaille
(58,5 x 46,2 cm)
Het martelaarschap van H. Barbara: zij wordt door haar eigen vader onthoofd
St. Barbara is beheaded by her father Dioscuros, who usually wears a turban and brandishes a scimitar (sword); sometimes Dioscuros is struck by lightning
Barbara was kept in a tower by her father because of her great beauty. He was obsessed with torturing her and in Caxton’s words commanded ‘the hangman that he should cut off with his sword her paps’. The increasingly enraged father reserved for himself the coup de grace and killed her with a sword thrust. He was immediately afterwards consumed by fire. The saint’s attributes are a three-windowed tower (for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), a sword and a chalice.