The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Lucy

Object Details


Saint Lucy


Fra Paolino (Paolo del Signoraccio) (Italian, about 1490 - 1547)




Italy (Place Created)


about 1525–1530


Black and white chalk

Object Number:



46 × 27.1 cm (18 1/8 × 10 11/16 in.)

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Object Description

A young woman stares sorrowfully at a palm branch in her left hand, the symbol of a martyr. Dressed in a long, flowing robe, she holds the edge of her cloak under her right arm as it has slipped from her shoulder. She is Saint Lucy, a virgin martyr from Syracuse in Italy, who died in about the year 304 for her beliefs as a Christian. Lucy survived numerous tortures such as having molten lead poured into her ears, having her teeth pulled and her breasts amputated, and being drenched with boiling oil and urine. Ultimately, she was killed by a dagger through her throat.

Fra Paolino outlined the figure of the saint with black chalk, quickly correcting the lines of drapery at her back until he achieved the line he desired. He used tight lines of cross-hatching to give a sense of depth and shadow to the folds of fabric that pool at her feet. Curving strokes of white chalk give subtle highlights to the creases and folds of her garment.

European Drawings (November to December 1988)
  • Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox Ltd. (London), November to December 1988
From Line to Light: Renaissance Drawing in Florence and Venice (July 20 to October 10, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 20 to October 10, 2010