Lorenzo Lotto (copy by) - inv. 1590
Painted half length, Saint Catherine is leaning against the spiked wheel, on which she was tortured, holding in her right hand the palm of martyrdom. The painting has been overpainted on various occasions, especially along the lower and upper edges, on the hands and on the wheel. It is a copy, with numerous variations, of an analogous work painted by Lorenzo Lotto in 1522, today in the Kress Collection in the National Gallery of Washington (no. 228). Compared to the original, the saint is missing her crown and row of pearls adorning her hair, the gold chain and cross at her neck and ring on her finger. The cloth panel in the background and the treatment of the drapery are also different.
Scholars have often maintained that this painting may well be a variant executed by Lotto himself at the same time or a little after the work in the Kress Collection. But the Milanese panel does not seem to show the same quality as Lotto’s works. The rather free and rapid brushwork and the overall colouring of the picture, which superficially take up Lotto’s idea though accentuating the languid nature of the saint’s face, appear to show influences of Correggio. These elements indicate that the artist might well be Emilian and the date should be shifted to the years immediately after the middle of the sixteenth century.