Saint Lawrence among the Poor and Sick

Image credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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This painting represents four episodes from the life of Saint Lawrence (d.258). To the right, he heals a kneeling widow. In the centre a blind man is cured and the feet of the poor are washed. The saint reappears in the centre, responding to Roman officials who demand the Church’s goods. He points to the poor and sick, saying ‘Here is the church’s treasure’. This act of rebellion led to his martyrdom. The artist Arpino made this monochrome sketch in preparation for painting a large fresco in a church dedicated to Saint Lawrence in Rome. The fresco has since been destroyed.

Saint Lawrence among the Poor and Sick


before 1588


oil on canvas


H 61.5 x W 73.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1988

Work type



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Normally on display at

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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