Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia, 16th century

An angel descends with a laurel wreath as Saint Cecilia is boiled in oil. Two executioners approach her carrying the severed heads of her husband and brother-in-law. The man seated at the left and pointing may be Turcius Almachius, the Roman prefect said to have ordered the persecution. Opposite him, an enthroned statue of Jupiter symbolically presides. In an inscription beneath Jupiter, Marcantonio credits Raphael with the invention of the composition, which workshop assistants painted on the wall of the Villa della Magliana, a papal retreat built on the site venerated as the place where martyrdoms occurred. Painted for Pope Leo X, the fresco was destroyed in 1830 during alterations to the villa.

Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia
Artist Life
c. 1475/1480–c.1534
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
B.117 p.104; D.91
Curator Approved

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