• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7375

    The Genius of the German Renaissance: Prints by Albrecht Dürer

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 30

    Albrecht Dürer

    The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine (B. 120; M., Holl. 236; S.M.S. 128)

    Price Realised  


    Albrecht Dürer
    The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine (B. 120; M., Holl. 236; S.M.S. 128)
    woodcut, circa 1498, a very good, strong and black Meder a impression, the block slightly slipped in the printing, watermark Imperial Orb (M. 53), trimmed to the borderline on three sides and with a 3 mm. margin below, in excellent condition
    B. 390 x 285 mm., S. 393 x 285 mm.

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Saint Catherine of Alexandria was one of the most revered saints of Dürer's time and was the subject of much devotion in Nuremberg. The artist wrote a prayer to the saint, and his former master Michael Wolgemut created an altarpiece devoted to her for the church of St. Lorenz.

    Saint Catherine suffered her martyrdom after disputing with fifty philosophers and the Roman Empress and converting them to the Christian faith. The Emperor Maxentius sentenced her to torture and death. At the point of being put on the wheel she was saved by a rain of fire that destroyed the wheel and killed four thousand heathens. Miraculously spared of her fate, she was finally beheaded.

    Dürer merges both aspects of her martyrdom, the destruction of the wheel by divine intervention and her death, into one image. The scene of mayhem and destruction caused by the fiery rain, very much reminiscent of the catastrophic events unfolding in the Apocalypse (see lot 131), is juxtaposed with the serene figure of the saint kneeling before her executioner, calmly awaiting her death.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Fürst von Liechtenstein (his stamp verso, not in Lugt).