(b. 1470/80, Würzburg, d. 1528, Halle)

St Dorothy with the Basket of Flowers

c. 1520
Black chalk, gray watercolour, heightened with white, 358 x 256 mm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

The preparatory drawing was made probably for an altarpiece, now lost, in Mainz.

St Dorothy, Virgin and Martyr, died c. 300-310. She was sent to her death by Fabritius, governor of Caesarea in Cappadocia, for refusing to marry or worship idols. On her way to martyrdom, a young lawyer named Theophilus asked her jestingly to bring him some apples and roses from the Garden of Paradise. Dorothy (whose name means "gift of God") promised to do so. An angel then appeared with a basket containing three roes and three apples. Theophilus was immediately converted and he too died a martyr. Dorothy's cult started around the fifteenth century and is prevalent above all in Germany and Italy. She is the patron saint of florists.