The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Object Details


Saint Catherine of Alexandria


Taddeo Crivelli (Italian, died about 1479, active about 1451 - 1479)




Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (Place Created)


about 1469


Tempera colors, gold paint, gold leaf, and ink on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig IX 13 (83.ML.109), fol. 187v


Leaf: 10.8 × 7.9 cm (4 1/4 × 3 1/8 in.)

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Object Description

In a small room, Saint Catherine of Alexandria reads and prays from a book on her lectern. Immersed in prayer, Catherine serves as a model of piety for the reader of this personal devotional book. The miniature appears before the prayers dedicated to Saint Catherine in the section of the book of hours containing the Suffrages. Saint Catherine was particularly popular with women in the Middle Ages. An anchor and lilies in the right border may be emblems of Orsina d'Este and her family, suggesting that the patron was particularly devoted to Saint Catherine.

Catherine holds her attribute, the spiked wheel upon which she was tortured. The small statue of the Virgin and Child in a wall niche may refer to a miracle, when a statue of the Christ Child came to life and gave Catherine the present of a ring, an event that came to be known as the Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine. The borders display a range of motifs, including a seahorse and the religious symbols of the pelican and dog.

Devotion and Desire: Views of Women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (July 25 to October 8, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 25 to October 8, 1995
Masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript illumination (December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998
Five Hundred Years of Manuscript Illumination (February 11 to June 1, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 11 to June 1, 2003
Miracles and Martyrs: Saints in the Middle Ages (August 29, 2013 to March 2, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 29, 2013 to March 2, 2014