Wilhelm Borremans, St. Euphemia

Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio, Palermo, Sicily

This image of St. Euphemia is one of a number of head-and-shoulders portraits of female saints that Borremans painted for the vault at the entrance to the nave when the "Martorana" church served a convent of nuns (Santoro, 52-55).

In the fresco Euphemia holds a palm branch, signifying martyrdom, and a large book. The latter is unusual in images of this saint; it may have been suggested by the important theological pronouncements of the Council of Chalcedon, which met in the church of St. Euphemia in that city.

It is perplexingly common for female saints to be pictured as blondes, and Borremans' work in this church is no exception.

Read more about images of St. Euphemia.

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