The J. Paul Getty Museum

Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine

Object Details


Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine


Bartolomeo Biscaino (Italian, 1632 - 1657)




Italy (Place Created)


about 1655


Red chalk with white gouache heightening on tan paper

Object Number:



28.9 × 39.8 cm (11 3/8 × 15 11/16 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

The young Saint Catherine, one of the most popular medieval saints, bends forward from the left to receive a wedding ring from the Christ child, who nearly twists off a bench in front of his mother Mary. Dating from the late Middle Ages, the story of Catherine's mystical marriage to Christ became a popular subject for both Italian and Northern European artists.

Bartolomeo Biscaino displayed his animated draftsmanship in broad patches of light and shade, expressive gestures of faces and hands, and elaborate, flowing outlines. To give the composition even more immediacy, he cropped the figures on the left side. He added the shadows and contours in red chalk and freely applied thick, white gouache to create highlights. The range of tones from dark to light uses the paper's tan color as the middle tone between the red and white.

Finding Form (December 12, 2017 to February 11, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 12, 2017 to February 11, 2018