Galleria Borghese logo
Search results for
No results :(

Hints for your search:

  • Search engine results update instantly as soon as you change your search key.
  • If you have entered more than one word, try to simplify the search by writing only one, later you can add other words to filter the results.
  • Omit words with less than 3 characters, as well as common words like "the", "of", "from", as they will not be included in the search.
  • You don't need to enter accents or capitalization.
  • The search for words, even if partially written, will also include the different variants existing in the database.
  • If your search yields no results, try typing just the first few characters of a word to see if it exists in the database.

Martyrdom of St Catherine of Alexandria

Follower of Tisi Benvenuto called Garofalo

(Garofalo or Ferrara 1476 - Ferrara 1559)

This painting was probably in the collection of Lucrezia d’Este. Generally held to be a workshop painting, it is marked by a formal academicism typical of Garofalo’s followers. The scene depicts the moment in which the angels break the cogwheel, the instrument of the martyrdom of Princess Catherine, with their swords, for which she is then killed by decapitation.

Object details

1530-1540 circa
oil on panel
cm 50 x 32

Ferrara, Inventory of Lucrezia d’Este d’Urbino, 1592, nos. 65, 66 (Della Pergola 1959, p. 345) ?; Inventory of Olimpia Aldobrandini, 1626, no. 215 (Della Pergola 1960, p. 436) ?; Borghese collection, documented in the Inv. 1693, room I, no. 5. Inventario fidecommissario Borghese 1833, p. 8. Purchased by the Italian state, 1902.

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1917 Francesco Cocchetti
  • 1941 Gabinetto Nazionale del Restauro
  • 1948 Carlo Matteucci
  • 1977 Gianluigi Colalucci
  • 1995 Laura Ferretti
  • 2008 Paola Mastropasqua
  • 2009 E.M. Conservazione
  • 2019 Laura Cibrario
  • 2020 Measure 3D di Danilo Salzano (laser scan 3D)
  • 2020 Erredicci (diagnostics)
  • 2020 IFAC-CNR (diagnostics)


Although this small panel painting appears in the Borghese inventories for the first time in 1693, scholars have traced it to the collection of Lucrezia d’Este d’Urbino and, after that, to the Aldobrandini collection (Hermann Fiore 2002), although this cannot be confirmed due to the lack of attribution in the just-mentioned inventory listings.

The weak composition, particularly the disproportion of the tiny angels in the far distance who nevertheless break the cogwheel of the princess-saint’s martyrdom, has always led scholars to include the work among those painted by Garofalo’s followers (Venturi 1893, Longhi 1928, Della Pergola 1955).

Lara Scanu

  • E. Platner, Bes Chreibung der Stadt Rom, III.3. Das Marsfeld, die Tiberinsel, Trastevere und der Janiculus, III, Stuttgart 1842, p. 281
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 127
  • G. Gruyer, L'art Ferrarais a l'époque des Princes d'Este, II, Parigi 1897, p. 324
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle gallerie italiane. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928 (ed. 1967), p. 343 n. 316
  • B. Berenson, Pitture italiane del Rinascimento: catalogo dei principali artisti e delle loro opere con un indice dei luoghi, Milano 1936, p. 188
  • P. Della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, n. 63
  • P. Della Pergola, L’ inventario del 1592 di Lucrezia d’Este, «Arte Antica e Moderna», 7, 1959, p. 345
  • P. Della Pergola, L’Inventario Borghese del 1693, «Arte Antica e Moderna», 26, 1964, p. 220 n. 5
  • B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Central Italian and North Italian Schools, I, London 1968, p. 157
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, in Il museo senza confini. Dipinti ferraresi del Rinascimento nelle raccolte romane, a cura di J. Bentini e S. Guarino, Milano 2002, p. 177, scheda 28