The martyr of
the title is St. Anthony of Antioch, who was killed during the persecutions of
Diocletian in 302 AD – thus the
Roman-style garb on the executioners and the floral
crown of martyrdom that the Child tenders toward the
Who is the figure in monastic habit to the
right of the Virgin? A scapular
hangs from his neck and hand, suggesting an
identification as St. Simon Stock. The Virgin's
promise of Heaven to those who wear the scapular and
follow her example of charity and
chastity would thus be related to Simon's eremitic life style.
However, the figure
wears what appears to be a brown Franciscan
habit, is beardless, and has a thick fringe of hair circling
These all characterize images of St.
Anthony of Padua, namesake of the martyr
in the painting. In contrast, Simon Stock is almost
always portrayed as an older man, with a beard and some
loss of hair. In the
portraits he invariably wears the white Carmelite
It is also noteworthy that a similar
painting displayed nearby in
the church has the
Padovan Anthony in Heaven with the Virgin and Child
contemplating the martyrdom of St.
below. The St.
from the following century
but seems to have been
modeled on this one, with
scene crowded with secondary figures and
martyr's body similarly
in a brightly lit
quadrilateral of the
same shape. The
label in the
it as "Carlo Loth,
The Virgin and
Child with St.
Anthony and the
Martyrdom of St.
it seems most
likely that the
young man in the
but Anthony of
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