Saint Catherine of Alexandria

View Fullscreen

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Saint Catherine, c. 1598, oil on canvas, 173 x 133 cm, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid

Catherine was a young Christian noblewoman who angered the Emperor Maxentius after failing to make sacrifices to the Roman gods and converting fifty of his own philosophers to Christianity.  She was sentenced to imprisonment, but was fed by a dove sent by Christ and did not starve.  She was then sentenced to death on a spiked wheel, but the wheel was broken by an angel.  Finally, she was beheaded.  

In the fifteenth century, she begins to be depicted in a mystical marriage to Christ.