The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Bernardino Luini1520 circa

Museo Poldi Pezzoli

Museo Poldi Pezzoli

Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli bought this painting from the antique dealer Baslini, just before 1865.

In a domestic interior, Baby Jesus is seated on a cushion and places a ring on Saint Catherine’s finger. The Virgin supports him, attentively gazing at the event.

The attention of the three figures focus on the small jewel that symbolises Catherine of Alexandria’s mystical wedding to Christ. She can be identified thanks to the fragment of the spiked wheel, visible next to her on the left. On the right, through the window we see a landscape with a house with a thatched roof.

Painted by Bernardino Luini in about 1520, the work shows the influence of Leonardo, especially in the chiaroscuro. It also reveals the influence of Andrea Solario, in the composition and in the Virgin’s face. The type of building in the landscape shows the artist’s knowledge of German or Flemish models. Note also the richness of Saint Catherine’s robes, embellished with pearls and precious stones, and her simple hairstyle, more evident for her being in profile.This is a work of great harmony, one of the first examples of a subject, which Luini painted many times.

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  • Title: The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria
  • Creator: Bernardino Luini
  • Date Created: 1520 circa
  • Physical Dimensions: 60.7 x 68.9 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Fondazione artistica Poldi Pezzoli "Onlus"
  • External Link: http://www.museopoldipezzoli.it/#!/en/discover/collections/714
  • Medium: Tempera and oil on panel