DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
(b. ca. 1255, Siena, d. 1319, Siena)
Tempera on wood
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena
This detail shows St Catherine of Alexandria at the left side of the Maestà. As a princess, the saint wears a golden crown. The martyr's palm branch is a symbol of the martyrdom she suffered under the Roman Emperor, Maxentius, in the 4th century AD.
The circular halo was incised with a pair of compasses. Embossing tools were used to etch the pattern into the gilded surface. These tools were rested vertically on the pictorial surface, then lightly tapped with a hammer. Since the plaster ground is flexible, the gold leaf did not tear.