Between 1570 and 1573 Federico Zuccaro executed a series of frescoes devoted to the life and death of Saint Catherine of Alexandria for the Roman church of Santa Caterina dei Funari, for which sixteen related drawings are known. The Miracle of the Breaking Wheel does not seem to have been part of the decorative programme for the church, although an additional drawing of the subject formerly on the London art market can be given to the artist (Christie's, London, 16 April 1991, lot 136). Judging from the later style of this drawing, it is likely that Federico returned to the subject later in his career. It may be a design for the altarpiece he painted in 1604, with himself and his family as the donors, for the church of Santa Caterina in his home town of Sant' Angelo in Vado in the Marches but this is only idle conjecture.
We are grateful to Dr James Mundy for confirming the attribution to Federico Zuccaro on the basis of a photograph and for his assistance in preparing this catalogue note.