1654. Oil on canvas, 326 x 228 cm.
The Triumph of Saint Hermenegild (d. 585) and of the Catholic Church over Arianism. The saint rises up to heaven surrounded by angels carrying the symbols of his origin and martyrdom: the crown and scepter of a Visigothic king, on the left; and the chains and ax of his martyrdom, on the right. On the lower part of the painting are King Leovigildo, dressed in armor, and an Arian Bishop with the chalice of the Eucharist. The eldest son of the Visigothic King Leovigildo, Saint Hermenegild was converted to Catholicism by his wife, Ingunda, and by Saint Leandro, Bishop of Seville. He was later imprisoned and murdered at the behest of his father after refusing to take communion from an Arian Bishop. The helicoidal composition and very low point of view are characteristics developed by Herrera following his visit to Italy. This work was painted for the main altarpiece of the Church of the Barefoot Carmelites in Madrid. It was acquired by Fernando VII for the Prado Museum in 1832.