(b. ca. 1453, Fossano, d. 1523, Milano)

St Catherine of Alexandria

Detached fresco, 170 x 92 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

This fresco is from the church of San Satiro, Milan. After its discovery in 1865, the fresco cycle to which this work belongs was detached and progressively moved to the Brera during the late nineteenth century. At one time, the signature and date, "Ambrosius Bergognonis 1495," could be read below the figure of St. Catherine.

The aristocratic appearance of this female figure is based entirely on the circling patterns of the robe, which builds up an ogee form embracing vibrant spatial rhythms. These are most marked in the arm, the wheel and the somewhat heavily rendered drapery. The well-mannered monumentality is enhanced by the yellow colour. In the embroidery of the bodice the yellow has the quality of a goldsmith's work; it ripples as if there were a slight movement in the air.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.