Francisco de Zurbarán
The Interment of St. Catherine

Circa 1636-37
Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany, inv. nr. 14933

The scene above regards St. Catherine's death, as putti bring her the palm branch of martyrdom and a chaplet of roses. We see the chaplet in the scene below: Angels have carried her body to Mount Sinai, where they "bury" or "entomb" her, depending on the text. The Czech Life speaks of a "sarcophagus" in which she now lies on Sinai (Head, 779).

Catherine was beheaded, so the artist places a ring of blood at the base of her neck. Her dress is pink. Lorite Cruz suggests that in clothing his martyred saints Zurbarán sometimes used that color because of its association with the liturgy for Gaudete and Laetari Sundays, when the Church turns from the rigors of Advent and Lent to be mindful of the joys of Heaven.

In the lower right are Catherine's two main attributes, a sword and a spiked wheel.

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Read more about St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Photographed at the museum by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.