Martyrdom of Saint Catherine

about 1498
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)

Catalogue Raisonné

Bartsch (relief) 120; Meder 236a


Sheet: 38.7 x 28.6 cm (15 1/4 x 11 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Europe, Prints and Drawings



When Saint Catherine of Alexandria confronted a fourth-century emperor over his persecution of the Christians and his worship of idols, he subjected her to an interrogation by all the scholars at his command. Her knowledge and eloquence proved so unimpeachable that her inquisitors were converted to Christianity. The infuriated emperor ordered her death upon a wheel studded with spikes, but was foiled when a divine thunderbolt shattered the wheel. The emperor finally had her beheaded, whereupon angels carried her body to Mount Sinai. In the late Middle Ages, Catherine was the most highly venerated saint apart from the Virgin Mary.


watermark: Imperial Orb (Meder 53); verso, stamped in ink -- mark of Vincent Mayer (Lugt 2525)


Vincent Mayer (1831-1918, Fribourg, Lugt 2525); Brigitte Laube (Zurich); from whom purchased through her daughter Daniela Laube by the MFA, December 17, 2008.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously