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.

This image in full resolution

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


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.