The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine
  • Sassoferrato (1609 - 1685)
  • The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine
  • Italy
  • 1650s
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 231.5 x 137 cm
    Object size: 265 x 170 x 12.5 cm
  • P646
  • Great Gallery
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Giovanni Battista Salvi was known as Sassoferrato, after his place of birth
    in the Italian Marches. He developed an eclectic style which emulated the
    fifteenth-century manner of Perugino and Raphael, but was also inspired
    by his contemporary Domenichino. Sassoferrato’s paintings consist mainly
    of immaculately painted devotional images of the Virgin and Holy Family,
    usually repeated in several versions.
    This altarpiece was painted in the 1650s for the church of S. Maria della Cima in Genzano, Italy. A squared preparatory study for the work is among sixty carefully finished drawings by the artist in the Royal Collection. It depicts
    an episode in the Medieval ‘Golden Legend’ which recounts Catherine
    of Alexandria’s vision of her mystic marriage to Christ. The spiked wheel
    and the sword are the emblems of St Catherine’s subsequent martyrdom.
    The painting was removed from the church of S. Maria della Cima in the
    nineteenth century and replaced by a copy which hangs there today. The
    4th Marquess of Hertford acquired the painting in 1856, at the sale of Horatio
    Walpole, Earl of Orford.