Stoning of St. Etienne (St. Stephen)
Charles Le Brun (1619-1690)
17th century, Oil on onyx
This painting, an oval in oil on onyx, depicts the Martyrdom of St. Etienne (St. Stephen), who is surrounded by torturers who threaten him with stones in their hands in the centre of the composition. The stylistic accents and a taste for the antique, often filtered through the Roman examples of Raphael, the Carraccis, and Domenichino, argue in favour of attributing this work to the master Charles Le Brun. His workmanship is also suggested by the interesting inscription on the back of the painting, which makes precise reference to the engraving by Gerard Audran (Lyon, 1640 – Paris, 1703), a member of the famous dynasty of Lyon painters and engravers. The scene, composed within the rounded format, describes the stoning of St. Stephen. We may perceive, in the narrative of the composition, the attention paid to the emotion of the bystanders of the martyred Saint, who appears resigned to his fate.