Italian, 1582 ‑ 1647
The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, about 1646 ‑ 1647
Oil on copper
9 × 7 9/16 in. (22.9 × 19.2 cm.) (copper panel)
Museum Members purchase 1966.45
A Dream Wedding
According to Christian teaching, Catherine was an Egyptian princess who lived in the third century. One night, she experienced a vision in which the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ appeared to her. Mary offered Catherine’s hand to the baby Jesus, who placed a ring on her finger. When Catherine awoke, she found that she was still wearing the ring that she received from Christ. This miraculous event ultimately persuaded her to convert to Christianity. Catherine’s story is known in Christian tradition as the “mystic marriage” and became symbolic of the spiritual union between God and a devoted follower of Christ.