St. Demetrius and Zuan Pietro Ghisi

Attributed to Jacopo Tintoretto1
Circa 1544-47
Oil on canvas, 74 x 34.6 in. (188 x 88 cm.)
Church of St. Felix, Venice, Italy

According to Butler (IV, 63), St. Demetrius was originally remembered as a Christian preacher who was martyred at Salonika or Sirmium at the order of the Emperor Maximian, who ruled from 286 to 305. Later legends made him a deacon, then a proconsul, and finally a soldier. It is as the latter that most extant images picture him. His feast day is October 8.

Demetrius was killed with a spear, which is his attribute in this painting and some other images. He is always pictured as a young man, usually without even a beard.

The Ghisi family produced many notable Venetians, but Zuan Pietro seems to be known only for commissioning this painting.

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Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.











































NOTE

1 In 1995 one scholar made the controversial suggestion that the painting should be attributed not to Tintoretto but to Giovanni Galizzi, a contemporary who may have done some of his work in Tintoretto's studio. See this page in Cavallini to Veronese.