Palma il Giovane
The Martyrdom of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Church of Santa Maria dei Frari ("The Frari"), Venice

The title notwithstanding, this is only the penultimate episode in Catherine's story, in which an angel comes to break the torture wheel into pieces that fly off and kill numerous pagan bystanders. The next episode, in which the saint will be beheaded, is adumbrated by the putti bringing her palm branch and crown of martyrdom.

The artist associates the saint with the Virgin Mary through her pose, which recalls numerous images of the Assumption, and by borrowing the obelisk and classical temple with its steps from Titian's Presentation of the Virgin Mary.

View this image in full resolution.
Read more about images of St. Catherine of Alexandria.
Read about images of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

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