Hippolytus was, according to legend, a Roman legionary who converted to Christianity and paid a heavy price.

How heavy? This picture gives a fairly clear idea. Since its acquisition by the Museum of Fine Arts, in 1963, it has been one of the most amazing paintings in the museum’s collection. But because we don’t know who the artist is, it tends to get overlooked.

The painting, which is almost a yard high, more than 9 feet long, and in superb condition for its age, was given a full-color, full-page spread in the Oct. 18, 1963, issue of Time magazine, and a similar treatment in the same week’s issue of Life.

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