St. Barbara was born in Nicomedia on the Sea of Marmara, daughter of a satrap called Discorus. He had her shut up in a tower to preserve her from Christian teaching. While her father was absent, Barbara got converted and decorated one of the windows in her tower in honor of Holy Trinity. Her father was outraged and commanded her death. She managed to escape, but was betrayed by a shepherd. She was caught and tortured, and finally beheaded. Immediately after her execution her father was struck down by lightning. St. Barbara protects against lightning, she is the patron saint of gunners, miners, and firemen. In fine arts her attributes are a three-windowed tower, lightning and a crown of martyrdom.
See: Robert Campin St. Barbara.
Petrus Christus Madonna and Child with St. Barbara and a Carthusian Monk (Exeter Madonna).
Jan van Eyck St. Barbara.
Lorenzo Lotto The Legend of St. Barbara.
Woman Sealed in the Tower: Being a View of Feminine Spirituality As Revealed by the Legend of Saint Barbara by Betsy Caprio, Betsey Caprio. Paulist Press, 1983.
Lives of the Saints: From Mary and Francis of Assisi to John XXIII and Mother Teresa by Richard McBrien (Author). Harper San Francisco, 2001.
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford Paperback Reference) by David Hugh Farmer. Oxford University Press, 2003.
The Golden Legend by Jacobus De Voragine, William Granger Ryan (Translator). Princeton Univ Pr, 1995.