Mystical Marriage of St Catherine of Alexandria with Niccoló Bonghi
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|Mystic Marriage of St Catherine of Alexandria and Niccoló Bonghi|
|Medium||Oil on panel|
|Dimensions||189 cm × 134 cm (74 in × 53 in)|
|Location||Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome|
The work was commissioned in 1523 by the Bergamese merchant Niccoló Bonghi, who is depicted on the left, behind the Virgin. The painting depicts the Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine, a vision of a chaste union with Jesus, in which the saint has forsaken terrestrial marriage in order to live a consecrated life. Jesus is depicted as an infant or child in the ceremony. The mystical marriage of St Catherine was echoed in the sacrament of consecration of nuns into a religious order.
The scene depicts the toddler Jesus placing a ring on the finger of a kneeling St Catherine. In her hair, Catherine wears an apparent crown with wheel-like spokes, recalling the instrument (wheel) used in her execution. Behind her an angel kneels. A palm frond of a martyr protrudes from her gown below. The work is signed on the Virgin Mary's foot stool. Behind the Virgin is an oriental rug. Unfortunately, the landscape from the window in the right corner was vandalized from the painting in 1528-1529 by French troops.