MASOLINO da Panicale
(b. 1383, Panicale, d. 1447, Firenze)

Scenes from the Catherine Legend (left wall)

Castiglione Chapel, San Clemente, Rome

The left-hand wall of the Castiglione Chapel presents scenes from the Catherine legend. St Catherine, an Alexandrian princess, suffered a martyr's death during the reign of the heathen Roman emperor Maxentius, as a result of her missionary work during the period when Christians were being persecuted. She was condemned to be broken on the wheel, but it collapsed at God's command and a rain of fire killed many heathens. The saint was eventually beheaded.

The scenes are presented in a highly original manner on a wall divided into five compartments All but the first scene are made of several episodes from the saint's life which is recounted at length in the Golden Legend. The scenes represented are the following: in the lunette, left: St Catherine Refusing to Worship Idols; right Conversion and Beheading of Empress Faustina; lower register: St Catherine Disputing with Scholars and Martyrdom of the Scholars; the Miracle of the Wheel; Beheading and Burial of St Catherine.

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