Catherine of Alexandria was one of the most popular female saints in the late Middle Ages. She is recognisable by her instruments of torture: the sword and wheel that lies broken at her feet. Here Catharine wears a magnificent gown that has been painted in meticulous detail. Equally detailed is the depiction of the surrounding countryside.
This painting belongs with the panel hanging to the right. Together they formed the side panels of an altarpiece that is now in Liverpool. The painter is an anonymous Antwerp artist known rather misleadingly as the Master of Frankfurt.
George Grenville, first Marquess of Buckingham, Stowe, before 1783, and his heirs; George Donaldson Gallery, London, before 1914; Walter von Pannwitz (1856-1920), Berlin, c.1914-1920; his widow, Cathalina von Pannwitz-Roth (1876-1959), Bennebroek and Heemstede, 1920-1940 (cat. 1926, no. 21); sold by her via W.A. Hofer to Hermann Göring, Berlin, 18 October 1940; Stichting Nederlands Kunstbezit, (inv. no. NK 2554); on loan to the Mauritshuis, 1948-1960; transferred, 1960
This painting is part of the Netherlands Art Property Collection (‘NK collection’): objects that were stolen, seized or purchased during the Nazi regime. After the Second World War they were placed under the administration of the Dutch State. In recent decades, applications for restitution are taken into consideration again and some objects have been returned to the heirs of their rightful owners.