Giambattista Tiepolo, an Italian painter of the Rococo style, painted The Martyrdom of Saint Agatha around 1755. The painting was intended for the high altar of the church of S. Agata in Lendinara and measures 184 x 131 cm, made with oil on canvas. It depicts the Christian martyr Saint Agatha of Sicily after being mutilated, with a pained yet spiritual expression on her face.
Tiepolo’s skillful use of light and shadow in this painting emphasizes the contrast between Saint Agatha’s pale skin and the dark background behind her, drawing attention to her face as a focal point. Her white veil and crimson dress also add to the drama in the scene, adding to Saint Agatha’s emotional distress.
The emotional range depicted by Tiepolo is typical of Rococo paintings, which often emphasized beauty and elegance but also incorporated elements such as horror or suffering when appropriate. Overall, The Martyrdom of Saint Agatha serves as a powerful tribute to both her religious sacrifice and Tiepolo’s artistic prowess.