Object Image

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

This graceful golden-haired princess comes from a predella, a row of scenes along the base of an altarpiece, or from the frame of an altarpiece. She is Saint Catherine, shown with her traditional attributes of a spiked wheel and a cactus-like martyr's palm.

To show off his skill with foreshortening - a visual trick of distorting objects so that they seem to recede into the picture - Crivelli has rotated her wheel so it is seen sideways on, with its spokes receding at a sharp angle. We can see her shadow and that of her wheel on the wall behind her. Her dress fall in heavy folds around her feet, and the toe of her shoe peeps out over the edge of marble parapet, as if she is breaking out of the ...

probably c. 1491-4
Tempera on lime
38.0 x 19.0cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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