This tempera on wood depicts Saint Catherine of Alexandria and, according to the sixteenth- century tradition, was probably part of a group of saints gathered to decorate an altarpiece or a chapel. The Saint is recognizable by her most typical attributes: with one hand, she holds the palm of martyrdom and the other the sword with which she will be beheaded.
At her feet lies a piece of the wheel she was tortured with, which broke while her executioners were using it, thus forcing them to opt for a quicker death. Although it is the work of an unknown artist, it is presumably the work of an Umbrian painter from the first half of the XVI century. Although it is a far cry from the Perugian innovations of those years, the painter nevertheless shows an initial sensibility towards landscape research, in the steadiness of extensive colored backgrounds and in the atmospheric rendering, which is very clear, balanced, and luminous.
Umbria, first half of the 16th century
Cinquecento, Milano 1989, I, pp. 313-317; II, pp.601-608.