St. Lucy

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Object Details


Lorenzo Costa, Italian, ca. 1460–1535


ca. 1480s


Tempera on panel


14 7/8 x 5 1/2 inches (FRAMED IN PAIRS)


Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Accession #



St. Lucy is one of eight saints Lorenzo Costa painted in the late 1400s. The graceful figures originally flanked a central devotional image on a monumental altarpiece, likely in or near Bologna, Italy. The saints are identifiable by their attributes and their names, which are inscribed underneath them in a northern Italian dialect. Devotees used this information to find the saints who were most relevant to their personal needs.

The lamp and two large eyes that St. Lucy holds refer to various legends about her eyes being plucked out. This cue would have prompted the visually impaired to pray to her for healing.