Saint Catherine of Alexandria (Raphael)

Saint Catherine of Alexandria is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. In the painting, Catherine of Alexandria is looking upward in ecstasy and leaning on a wheel, an allusion to the breaking wheel (or Catherine wheel) of her martyrdom.[1]

Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Raffael 020.jpg
Yearc. 1507-1509
Mediumoil on wood
Dimensions72.2 cm × 55.7 cm (28.4 in × 21.9 in)
LocationNational Gallery, London

It was painted c. 1507-1509, towards the end of Raphael's sojourn in Florence, and shows the young artist in a transitional phase. The depiction of religious passion in the painting is still reminiscent of Pietro Perugino, but the graceful contrapposto of Catherine's pose is typical of the influence of Leonardo da Vinci on Raphael, and is believed to be an echo of Leonardo's lost painting Leda and the Swan.

Painting materialsEdit

Raphael employed the usual Renaissance pigments such as natural ultramarine, madder lake, ochres and lead-tin yellow.[2] He also mixed a special kind of finely powdered glass into several pigments to speed up the drying of the oil paints.[3]

This picture was partially used on the cover of The Smashing Pumpkins album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.


  1. ^ Capgrave, John, and Karen A. Winstead. 2011. The life of Saint Katherine of Alexandria. Notre Dame, Ind: University of Notre Dame Press.
  2. ^ Raphael, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, ColourLex
  3. ^ Roy, A., Spring, M., Plazzotta, C. ‘Raphael’s Early Work in the National Gallery: Paintings before Rome‘. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 25, pp 4–35

See alsoEdit