1895 . Oil on canvas
Actual Size (W x H): 196cm x 117cm [ 77.22" x 46.10" ]
John William Waterhouse: St Cecilia - 1895
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Also known as Cecily, Cicilia
Cultivated young patrician whose ancestors loomed large in Rome's history. Vowed her virginity to God, but her parents married her to Valerian of Trastevere. She told her new husband that she was accompanied by an angel, but in order to see it, he must be purified. He agreed to the purification, and was baptised; returning from the ceremony, he found her in prayer accompanied by a praying angel. The angel placed a crown on each of their heads, and offered Valerian a favor; the new convert asked that his brother be baptised.
During the persecutions, the two brothers gave proper burial to martyrs. In their turn they were arrested and martyred for their faith. Cecilia buried them at her villa on the Apprian Way, and was arrested for the action. She was ordered to sacrifice to false gods; when she refused, she was martyred in her turn.
The Acts of Cecilia has the following: "While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse." It was this phrase that led to her association with music, singer, musicians, etc.
She was martyred c.117; suffocated for a while, and when that didn't kill her, she was beheaded; grave was discovered in 817, and her body removed to the church of Saint Cecilia in Rome. tomb was opened in 1599, and her body found to be incorrupt.
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