Tintoretto, St. Catherine of Alexandria Medicated by Angels

16th century
Church of San Giovanni Eleemosynario, Venice

The western versions of St. Catherine's passion state that angels came to salve Catherine's wounds after she had been scourged and thrown into prison. In a collapsing of time, this painting also shows the subsequent visit to the prison by the Empress (wearing her crown, to the right of the saint) and the military officer Porphyry (lower right, in armor). The three figures behind the Empress and Porphyry are presumably donors or other contemporaries.

The label in the church provides the title and ascribes the painting to Tintoretto, but I have found no other source that lists it among his works. The saint's face and hair, as well as the use of color and light, do resemble his other Catherine images.

We may presume that the date of the painting is not much later than the Council of Trent's strictures against "lascivious" paintings (1563) and Molanus' specific prohibition of nudity in church art (1575).1

More of St. Catherine of Alexandria

This image in full resolution

Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke









































1 Council of Trent, session 25, On The Invocation, Veneration, and Relics of Saints, and on Sacred Images. Molanus II, 106.