Church of San Niccolò al Carmine

Martyrdom of St Bartholomew

Alessandro Casolani (1552/53 - 1607)

Hailed by critics as one of the artist’s masterpieces, the painting, located to the left of the high altar, was made by Casolani in his late years.
The choice of this subject is almost certainly related to the fact that the canvas, just like the altar, was commissioned by the Guild of Curriers and Tanners whose patron saint was Saint Bartholomew the Apostle. The Saint, who was born in Cana of Galilee, was introduced to Jesus at the Jordan through the Apostle Philip, his friend. Accepting the Lord’s invitation to follow him, he joined the Twelve Apostles. According to tradition, after Christ’s Ascension into Heaven, he became an itinerant preacher travelling to Armenia, Mesopotamia and India and had the power to heal the sick. He was condemned to “Persian death”: skinned alive and then crucified by the Pagans.