by Nathalie Azoulai
After Council of Trent, painters were asked to paint Christian saints. By 1630, Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbaran painted St. Agatha who was sent to jail by a Sicilian prefect, because she wouldn't marry him and would stick to her faith. She got tortured and had her breast cut off. Luckily St.Peter cured her wounds. Just like Zurbaran who paints her offering her severed breasts to the viewer as plain biscuits. There will be no blood, no scars, no human flesh, says Zurbaran whose painting keeps the dryness of some desertic and biblical aera, wherever the scenes take place. There will be no drama, no tears and no ostentation. Just like when St. Lucy-another of his holy women- offers her eyes on a platter pretending nothing's wrong.Everyone should know though that St.Agatha is the patron of all wet nurses..
Yes, Spanish painters do have a special fancy for surrealism.