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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Oil on Sicilian Jasper of the Miracle of the Martyrdom of St Catherine of Alexandria Attributed to the French Artist Jacques Stella"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
In a 17th Century carved wooden frame with an old paper label to the reverse:
'Martyre E Decollation de Ste Catherine dont le sang coula blanc pour attester la purete e son innocence d ? l'e riture.
Ce tableau très ancien Provient du Convent des Capucines de Martiques qui fut pillé en 1793 il est attribué à l'ecole Italienne'
Circa 1625, Rome
Size: 18.5cm high, 20cm wide – 7¼ ins high, 8 ins wide (agate)
41cm high, 42cm wide – 16 ins high, 16½ ins wide (framed)
Liberated by Napoleon I in 1793, returned to Rome after Napoleon's death in 1821
Sold by Walter Padovani, Milan
Ex Private Swiss collection.
cf: Over 40 paintings by Jacques Stella are in various museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 'Jacobs Ladder' oil on onyx. Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco 'Ascension of the Virgin'
This oil is painted on a carefully selected polished slab of 'Diaspri di Sicilia' a form of jasper found in Sicily in a range of colours and no longer quarried. It comes mainly from the province of Paterino and in particular from the villages of Giuliana, Santo Stefano Quisquina, Bisacquino and Monreale. These jaspers were often collected as loose boulders in ploughed fields. Polished vessels and objects carved from Giuliana jasper have been dated as early as the 12th century. The heyday of jasper production was in the late 16th and 17th centuries when the Medici family with their great love of ornamental stone had quarries opened just west of the little town of Giuliana.
St Catherine of Alexandria is shown beheaded and attended by two angels who transported her body to Mount Sinai where a widespread cult began in the 9th century around her mythical legend. Of noble birth, persecuted for her Christian beliefs in the 4th century AD by the Romans, denying the Emperor marriage as she was 'a bride of Christ', she was broken on a wheel, later called a Catherine Wheel, and then beheaded. Her purity and innocence then revealed itself in the miracle of milk, instead of blood, flowing from her severed head.