Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαῖος) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and is usually identified with Nathanael.
He is said to have been martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia. According to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward.
The account of Bartholomew being skinned alive is the most represented in works of art, and consequently Bartholomew is often shown with a large knife, holding his own skin (as in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment), or both. Bartholomew is also the patron saint of tanners.
Well, that’s a good display of macabre sense of humor – “patron saint of tanners” for a guy holding his own flayed skin. Heh.