Saint Catherine of Alexandria in Prison

Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari) Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 608

Saint Catherine, a fourth-century princess of Alexandria, attempted to convince the Roman emperor Maxentius of the validity of Christianity. In response, he condemned her to twelve days of starvation in prison. Veronese shows her in a dark cell comforted by the dove of the Holy Spirit. Behind and below her are fragments of the wheel with which the emperor sought, unsuccessfully, to kill her. She was ultimately beheaded and here holds the martyr’s palm. The painting was done late in Veronese’s career, when his work was characterized by a dramatic use of light and a new depth of expression.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria in Prison, Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari) (Italian, Verona 1528–1588 Venice), Oil on canvas

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