Together with St Catherine (NG S 273), the painting St Florianonce adorned one of the small chapels by the chancel in St Stephen’s Church in Štepanja Vas, Ljubljana. The central niche of the high altar was once occupied by Metzinger’s painting The Stoning of St Stephen, today lost, which was signed and dated 1744. On this basis, it is possible to date both paintings from the chancel chapels to around the same time as the image from the high altar.
The saint is shown kneeling on a cloud with a Christian banner held in his left hand. With his right hand, he is blessing a burning church that a winged putto is hastening to extinguish with a bucket of water.
St Florian is one of the most beloved popular saints, in that he was considered a protector against the most common dangers that threatened everyone – fire, drought, flood, war. He is the chosen patron saint of firefighters. He is depicted in military garb, with a helmet and banner, and with a bucket that he uses to extinguish burning buildings. He is often shown with a millstone, in reference to the fact that he was put to death by drowning in a river with a millstone tied around his neck.
Metzinger also painted an apotheosis of the saint for the church in Šempeter (1738) and for the high altar of the succursal church dedicated to St Florian at Straden in Austria (1751).