The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with Saints and a Doge

Andrea Schiavone (Andrea Meldolla)about 1550 - 1553

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Catherine kneels on a ramp of steps, at the top of which are seated the Madonna and Child. With both hands, the Child reaches forward to place a ring on Saint Catherine's finger, symbolizing her spiritual engagement to God. An angel in the bottom right corner holds Saint Catherine's attributes of a wheel and a martyr's crown. To the left, an elderly doge kneels between Saints Mark and Francis. Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice, is accompanied by his identifying attribute, the lion, also a symbol of the city. Behind the figures, beneath a dramatic sky, sailing ships move across a hazy cityscape.

Schiavone's sheet is a highly finished compositional study for a painting formerly in the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, but destroyed by a fire in 1574. Francesco Donato, the doge depicted in the drawing commissioned the painting. Inspired by a painting by Titian, Schiavone used the staircase to develop a dynamic diagonal flow of action. The strong verticals of the canopy and architecture behind the figures balance the composition. Freely applied highlights in white gouache and brown ink animate the scene.

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  • Title: The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with Saints and a Doge
  • Creator: Andrea Schiavone (Andrea Meldolla)
  • Date: about 1550 - 1553
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 27.3 x 31.8 cm (10 3/4 x 12 1/2 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink and gray wash, heightened with white gouache
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 91.GG.77
  • Inscription: Secondary Inscription: (Recto) inscribed "Meldolla." at lower left edge of mount in brown ink; (verso) inscribed "J.C. Robinson 11 dec 1858." (L. 2141b) and "Meldolla" in brown ink.
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Italian
  • Classification: Drawings