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Martyrdom of St. Florian - Albrecht Altdorfer. 79x67
The work of the German Renaissance artist and the head of the Danube school Albrecht Altdorfer was part of a large painting cycle, now scattered across various museums and representing scenes from the life of St. Florian.
Holy tradition says that this Roman soldier, who lived in the 3rd-4th centuries, secretly converted to Christianity and tried to save Christians from execution in the Upper Austrian lands, for which he was sentenced to death. They tied a stone to his neck and threw it into the river.
Altdorfer portrayed Florian on a bridge kneeling with a huge millstone tied to his neck. Around crowded tormentors and just onlookers. The artist presented the whole scene seen from below, which is why a breathtaking landscape opens up in the span of the bridge: the clear waters of the river, forming swirls around the supports, drown in the haze of distant blue mountains, you can see the castle on top. The world in Altdorfer's paintings looks magically beautiful, even when he portrays martyrdom. Raising the whole scene compositionally, the painter thereby expressed the greatness of the feat accomplished by Florian, and the world shining around emphasizes the spiritual beauty of the saint.