Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Cristoforo Solari Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 504

The head of a Roman Empreror at Saint Catherine's feet symbolizes her defeat of paganism. Her relaxed pose and serene expression, combined with the broken wheel on which she was tortured, convey her acceptance of her Christian martyrdom. Her coiffure and clothing are suggestive of classical Greek statuary, and might allude to her life in the eastern Roman Empire. This work's profuse classical references demonstrate the mastery of the antique style for which Solari was renowned. Though probably carved in Milan, the figure may have been inspired by statues of the Virtues on Tullio Lombardo's Vendramin monument, just completed when Solari first visited Venice.

[Peter J. Bell, 2015]

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Cristoforo Solari (Italian, ca. 1460–1524), Marble, Italian, Milan

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