Unknown artist. Madonna and Child with Saint Barbara and Saint Dorothea, circa 1450. Hermitage, Saint Petersburg
Flourished circa A.D. 250, Asia Minor
Barbara, a virgin martyr of the early church, converted to Christianity against the wishes of her pagan father. He took her to a Roman magistrate to be executed and was ordered to perform the deed himself, which he did but shortly after, according to legend, was struck down by lightning. Barbara is celebrated by the Catholic Church as the patron saint of lightning and artillery. She was canonized some time before the seventh century.
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