The Stoning of St. Stephen, attributed to Pietro Testa (1611-1650).

Oil on canvas, 52cm by 41cm.

Stephen was a deacon in the early Church in Jerusalem whose radical teaching made enemies within the Church hierarchy.

He was accused of blasphemy, but during his trial, made a fierce denunciation of the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgement upon him.

He was subsequently stoned to death, becoming the first Christian martyr.

The artist was born in Lucca, but early in life moved to Rome.

He was known principally as a printmaker and draughtsman; his etchings highly regarded and frequently copied.

His study and observation of natural phenomena, thought to be influenced by Leonardo da Vinci, informed his work.


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