Dolci was the leading Florentine painter of the seventeenth century. Most of his works are highly detailed, small in scale, and intensely devotional.

Saint Catherine of Siena was a fourteenth century Christian mystic and lay member of the Dominican Order. She devoted herself to the care of the sick and needy, and was thought to have developed an acute awareness of human suffering. Christ appeared to her in a vision and offered her the choice of two crowns, one of gold and one of thorns. She chose the crown of thorns.


  • Title: St. Catherine of Siena
  • Date: c. 1665-70
  • Physical Dimensions: w181 x h244 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Nationality: Italian
  • Support: Cedar panel
  • Provenance: London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Further Information: Carlo Dolci (1616-1686) painted a number of large altarpieces as well as portraits and still lifes, but his reputation rests chiefly on his meticulous small-scale devotional works, normally half-length single figures, in which he aimed to inspire a state of intense devotion. Saint Catherine is shown in the habit of a Dominican tertiary with a crown of thorns. This refers to a vision in which Christ offered her the choice between a crown of gold and a crown of thoms and she chose the latter. Meditating on a work such a this would assist the pious in their devotions.
  • Artist: Dolci, Carlo
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps