The painting "Santa Casilda" is a work of the Spanish Baroque painter Francisco de Zurbarán, made in the 17th century. The work depicts Saint Casilda, an 11th century Spanish saint known for her compassion and charity towards the poor and sick.
An interesting detail of this work is that Zurbarán used a technique called "tenebrismo", in which the contrasts between light and shadow are very marked, to create a dramatic and mysterious effect. The figure of Santa Casilda emerges from the darkness, illuminated by a spotlight that highlights her face and hands.
Another interesting aspect of the work is its iconography, that is, the symbolic elements that appear in the painting. The figure of Santa Casilda wears a princess dress and a crown, alluding to her noble origin. However, in her left hand she holds a bouquet of wild flowers, symbolizing her humility and simplicity. In addition, behind her is a donkey loaded with bread and water, which represents her charity towards the poor and the sick.
Another interesting detail about the painting "Santa Casilda" is that Zurbarán made it for the Hospital de la Caridad in Seville, a charitable institution founded in the 16th century to care for the sick and needy in the city. The painting was part of the altarpiece of the main altar of the hospital chapel, along with other works by the same painter.
The choice of Santa Casilda as the subject of the painting was not by chance, since the saint was considered a protector of the sick and needy, and her figure was very popular in the city of Seville at that time. In addition, Zurbarán had a great ability to represent holy figures and to create an atmosphere of meditation and devotion, which made his works highly appreciated by the religious and charitable institutions of the time.
The painting "Santa Casilda" is considered one of Zurbarán's most important works and is admired for its skill in depicting light and shadow, as well as for its rich symbology and detailed realistic style. The work is currently in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.