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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Lucy

b. C.E. 283, Sicily; d. 303, Sicily

Reputedly born into a noble and wealthy Roman family, Lucy died in the persecutions of Christians in the early fourth century C.E. According to largely apocryphal texts, she took a vow of chastity and promised to give her wealth to the poor. This angered her betrothed, who informed the Sicilian governor of her actions. The authorities tried to force her into prostitution, considered a fitting punishment for a virgin. She resisted and was set on fire, but miraculously did not die. She was finally killed by sword.

Domenico Beccafumi. Saint Lucy, 1521. Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena, Italy

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