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The Story of the Val di Non: "The Martyrdom of Martyrius and Alexander", 1525

Bernardino Luini
Italian, c.1481/2-1532
Oil on panel
overall: 12-1/2 x 11-1/4 in. (31.8 x 28.6 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

Bernardino Luini, a celebrated Milanese painter, followed the pictorial traditions of Leonardo da Vinci. His style is characterized by soft, rounded forms and simplified structures. These panels originally formed part of an altarpiece painted for the Church of Saint Sisinio a Mendrisio near Lake Lugano.

In the" Vow of the Three Friends," Saints Sisinio, Martyrius and Alexander set forth on their journey from Cappodocia. In "The Ordination" the three are invested by the Bishop of Trent and sent out as missionaries. The "Altar of Saturn" shows them refusing to sacrifice to a pagan deity, angering the local priest. This is followed by the "Martyrdom of Martyrius and Alexander", in which the two monks are killed by angry local pagans. The "Martyrdom of Saint Sisinio" shows the bound bodies of the three saints dragged by soldiers. Their church, seen in the background, was later destroyed by the pagans.

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