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Attributed to Sebastiano del Piombo: 'Portrait of a Lady with the Attributes of Saint Agatha'

The lady in the picture is shown with the attributes of Saint Agatha, the 3rd-century martyr who was reported to have been tortured for resisting the advances of the Roman governor. However, technical examination of the painting has shown that the breasts, shears, martyr's palm and halo are later additions, suggesting that the work was originally a portrait, although the sitter remains unidentified.

The letter 'F' before the name 'Sebastianus' in the signature shows that this work was painted in or after the year 1531, when Sebastiano was appointed to the office of the Piombo which carried the honorific title 'Frate' (Friar).


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