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

Miracle of the Wheel

Castiglione Chapel, San Clemente, Rome

The picture shows the scene Miracle of the Wheel on the lower register of the left-hand wall. This wall is divided into three tall rectangular panels, but presents five different episodes. Utilizing the middle distance and background as the settings for scenes that follow and are directly related to the events depicted in the foreground, the painter managed to integrate additional episodes into his pictures without compromising their formal integrity as compositions.

In the scene of the Miracle of the Wheel an angel intervenes to stop the torture of the saint commanded by Maxentius. The secondary scene shows the emperor looking down at the interrupted martyrdom from a high loggia. A woman beside him, doubtless Empress Faustina, is leaning over the railing. She too had been converted by Catherine. The scenes of her conversion and her martyrdom are depicted in the lunette above.

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