Saint Catherine of Alexandria

The first references that we have of the existence of an altar dedicated to Saint Catherine in the cathedral date back to the 17th century. This painting is probably from the same period and is Flemish in origin. It depicts Saint Catherine of Alexandria kneeling beside the trunk of a tree surrounded by her usual attributes. The story states that the saint was of noble origin, which is why she usually wears a crown at her side, as in this case. Her confrontation with Emperor Maxentius led her to suffer martyrdom, initially with a cogwheel that was destroyed by divine intervention, and then replaced by a sword with which she was beheaded. Tradition has it that milk flowed from her wound and her body was carried by angels to Mount Sinai. The full story is suggested in this painting, which portrays the saint in a position of devotion gazing at the heavens. She is holding the instruments of her martyrdom, the cogwheel and the sword, in her hands. Also positioned at her feet is the head of Emperor Maxentius, with turban and crown, referring to Catherine’s triumph over this pagan.


Ficha técnica

  • Author: Anonymous
  • Date: 17th century
  • Technique: Oil on canvas
  • Measurements: 96´5 x 58´5 cm
  • Place: Seminary (Vitoria-Gasteiz)