Giandomenico Tiepolo
Saints Helen and Macarius Find the True Cross

San Polo, Venice

In the original 5th-century account by Rufinus, St. Macarius was Bishop of Jerusalem at the time of St. Helena's visit and helped her in the project of finding the True Cross. In the painting the sick person has been healed by the touch of the cross and Macarius is declaring it to be the True Cross. By including Macarius the artist ignores the revisions of the narrative that had replaced him with a villain named Judas. But in other respects he follows the later versions: the invalid here is a man, and he is hardly "running all about" as in Rufinus.

The banner in the background has an inscription beginning with the letter S; the next letter could be P, thus SPQR, the initials on a standard of the Roman Empire, which was ruled at the time by Helena's son, Constantine the Great.

View this image in full resolution.
Read more about St. Helena.

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