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Possibly by Antonio Carracci, The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen

Key facts
Full title The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen
Artist Possibly by Antonio Carracci
Artist dates 1589? - 1618
Date made about 1610
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 64 × 50.1 cm
Acquisition credit Holwell Carr Bequest, 1831
Inventory number NG77
Location Room 37
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen
Possibly by Antonio Carracci

A saint in a red dalmatic (a long, wide-sleeved tunic) collapses to the ground as a crowd throw stones at him. This is the death of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stephen was a deacon in the early Church and, according to the Acts of the Apostles, enraged the authorities in Jerusalem by his preaching. They accused him of blasphemy and an angry crowd dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.

The composition is inspired by paintings of the subject by Domenichino and Annibale Carracci. The artist may be Antonio Carracci, son of Agostino and nephew of Annibale. There are not many paintings securely attributed to him but The Flood (Louvre, Paris), although much larger in scale, is similar in style, especially in the background figures. If it is indeed by Antonio, it was probably painted around 1610.

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