The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Miraculous Communion of Saint Catherine of Siena

Object Details


The Miraculous Communion of Saint Catherine of Siena


Domenico Beccafumi (Italian, 1484 - 1551)




Italy (Place Created)


about 1513–1515


Oil and gold leaf on panel

Object Number:



28.9 × 41.3 cm (11 3/8 × 16 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

This small panel depicts an episode from the life of the Dominican tertiary and mystic, Saint Catherine of Siena, as described in her biography of 1385, written by her confessor, Raymond of Capua. Receiving the sacrament of Communion gave Saint Catherine visions and ecstasies that lasted hours and left her physically exhausted. Stricken with illness and bedridden, her companions convinced her to not attend church. Catherine acquiesced but prayed for God’s help in receiving the Eucharist. Miraculously, an angel delivered a piece of the consecrated host to the saint. Celebrating Mass at a side altar, Raymond of Capua looks around with concern for the piece of the Host which has mysteriously vanished, while an apparition of the saint, unseen by the surrounding people, receives communion from an angel above.

Saint Catherine was revered in the artist’s native Siena, having ministered to the city’s poor and selflessly nursed victims of the 1374 plague. This panel and its companion, Saint Catherine of Siena Receiving the Stigmata, were probably made for the predella of an altarpiece dedicated to the saint.

until 1958

Private Collection [sold, Christie, Manson, & Woods, London, November 28, 1958, lot 116, to Warren.]

1958 -

Source: GRI, annotated copies of the 1958 sale catalogue.


Edward Speelman, Ltd. (London, England)

by 1990 - 1997

Stanley Moss (Riverdale-on-Hudson, New York; New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997.

Exhibition of the Marshall Collection (December 31, 1973 to January 8, 1974)
  • Sotheby's (London), December 31, 1973 to January 8, 1974
Domenico Beccafumi e il suo tempo (June 16 to September 16, 1990)
  • Pinacoteca Nazionale (Siena), June 16 to September 16, 1990

Christie, Manson, & Woods, London. Catalogue of Pictures by Old Masters. November 28, 1958, p. 18, lot 116.

Exhibition of the Marshall Collection [...], exh. cat. (London: Sotheby & Co., 1973), pp. 45-46, 62, no. 62, ill.

W. & F. C. Bonham & Sons, London. The Marshall Collection of Old Master Paintings. March 28, 1974, pp. 234-35, lot 118, ill.

Waterhouse, Ellis Kirkham. Notebooks. Vol. 51 (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute) accession no. 870204, p. 90 (January 8, 1974).

Bartalini, Roberto. "Domenico Beccafumi, 1513-1518." In Domenico Beccafumi e il suo tempo, exh. cat. (Siena: Pinacoteca nazionale, 1990), pp. 86-87.

Domenico Beccafumi e il suo tempo, exh. cat. (Siena: Pinacoteca nazionale, 1990), pp. 98, 101, no. 4, ill., entry by Roberto Bartalini.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 7, ill.

Gribbon, Deborah. "Selected Acquisitions Made by the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995-97." Burlington Magazine 139, no. 1136 (November 1997), p. 824, fig. 10.

Torriti, Piero. Beccafumi (Milan: Electa, 1998), pp. 74-75, fig. P12b.

Dubus, Pascale. Domenico Beccafumi (Paris: Adam Biro, 1999), p. 190, fig. 6.

Boskovits, Miklós, ed. The Alana Collection: Newark, Delaware, USA. Vol. 2, Italian Paintings and Sculptures from the Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century. Peter Spring, trans. (Florence: Centro Di, 2011), p. 52.

Kennedy, Trinita, ed. Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy, exh. cat. (Nashville: Frist Center for the Visual Arts, with Philip Wilson Publishers, 2014), p. 215, under no. 53.