Mariotto di Nardo (active 1394–1424)
The Martyrdom of Saint Blaise
Oil on panel
32 x 34.3 cm
Musée des beaux-arts, Rennes
A Florentine, Mariotto established himself as a painter of frescoes and panel paintings and an illuminator of manuscripts.
As a young man he became the principal artist for the Duomo in Florence.
A forerunner of the International Gothic style, Richard Offner described him as a “solid craftsman of the old school.”
In this panel for a predella, he depicts the martyrdom of St Blaise, the physician, and bishop of Sebastea in historical Armenia.
He was martyred for the faith in the reign of Licinius (about AD 316).
He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
The town Sebastea now known as Sivas in modern Turkey was of some importance in the early history of the Christian Church
In the 4th century it was the home of Saint Blaise and Saint Peter of Sebaste, bishops of the town, and of Eustathius, one of the early founders of monasticism in Asia Minor.
It was also the place of martyrdom of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, also in the 4th century.
Justinian I had a fortified wall around it rebuilt in the 6th century.
In these days we celebrate the witnessing of the martyrs St Blaise, St Agatha and the St Paul Miki and his Japanese companions