Francesco Trevisani (1656-1746)
The Miracle of St. Anthony
Church of St. Roch, Venice, Italy
Arnald (186-87) relates the story behind this painting. A young man confessed to St. Anthony of Padua that he had kicked his own mother, and the saint thoughtlessly replied that a foot that kicked one's mother ought to be amputated. He meant the comment only as an exaggeration, but the youth actually did go home and amputate his own foot. When the mother heard what her son had done she went to Anthony and upbraided him. Anthony then went to the youth and prayed over the foot, which he was then able to re-attach miraculously "while signing it with the sign of the cross."1
In the image Anthony prays and holds the young man's foot while his middle finger bends against his raised index finger to form a cross. He is of course dressed in the brown Franciscan habit with a rope belt. A rosary hangs from the belt.
Above, an angel also lifts his index finger, directing the saint's prayer heavenward. Below and to the left, the mother watches anxiously. The amazed onlookers are not in Arnald's account, but an audience is suggested when the mother hears of the son's self-muutilation when "the report of this strange atonement spread quickly throughout the city."2
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Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.