Paolo Veronese
St. Catherine of Alexandria in Prison

Circa 1580-85
Oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art

In the Golden Legend and other sources, the Emperor Maxentius ordered that St. Catherine be kept in prison without food or drink for twelve days. However, Jesus "sent to her a white dove which fed her with meat [food] celestial."

To establish the locus as a prison the artist has placed a barred window in the upper left. The small closed chest beneath Catherine's foot is not in the story, so it may be a symbol of the firmness of her faith or her chastity. The palm branch is of course a symbol of the martyrdom that will ensue soon after this episode.

Read more about images of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Source: this page at Wikimedia Commons.