The Miraculous Translation Of The Body Of Saint Catherine Of Alexandria To Sinai
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

While in Rome between 1837 and 1842, von Blaas was influenced by the art of the Nazarenes, a group of predominantly German artists who revived early Renaissance styles and religious themes. Several of these artists treated the unusual subject of Saint Catherine’s body being transported to Mount Sinai; the early fourth-century saint is commonly represented with the wheel on which she was tortured. After her martyrdom by the imperial Romans in Alexandria, her body was reputedly carried by angels to a mountaintop in Sinai, near where Moses had received the tablets bearing the Ten Commandments. Almost four hundred years later, monks supposedly discovered her uncorrupted body. The nearby monastery named after her, where her remains were preserved, became a pilgrimage destination in the region second only to the holy places of Palestine.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1992.288
People
Karl von Blaas, Austrian (Nauders, Austria 1815 - 1894 Vienna, Austria)
Title
The Miraculous Translation of the Body of Saint Catherine of Alexandria to Sinai
Other Titles
Former Title: Ascension of St. Catherine
Former Title: St. Catherine Carried by the Angels
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
1860
Culture
Austrian
Location
Level 2, Room 2130, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, The Pre–Raphaelites and Their Legacy
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
105 x 143 cm (41 5/16 x 56 5/16 in.)
framed: 126.3 x 165 x 9.6 cm (49 3/4 x 64 15/16 x 3 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r.: C. Blaas 1860
  • exhibition label: back of frame, paper, printed and handwritten: Boston Athenaeum / National Sailors' Fair / [gives title and artist] / Owner's address: Mrs. [ ] E. Thayer / Brookline
  • label: back of frame, black marker on masking tape, handwritten: GROSSMAN 5 ANGELS CARRYING YOUNG GIRL / INTO HEAVEN
Provenance
Mrs. J. E. Thayer, (1864). [Daniel Grossman Gallery, New York, NY, sold]; to [Seiden and de Cuevas, later Vermeer Associates Limited, sold]; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1992.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Melvin R. Seiden Purchase Fund
Accession Year
1992
Object Number
1992.288
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Catalogue of paintings and statuary exhibited for the benefit of the National Sailors' fair, exh. cat., Boston Athenaeum (Boston, MA, 1864), No. 282

Friedrich von Boetticher, Malerwerke des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, F. v. Boetticher (Dresden, Germany, 1891 - 1901), p. 104, no. 13

Leon Botstein and Linda Weintraub, ed., Pre-Modern Art of Vienna 1848-1898, exh. cat., Blum Art Institute (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, 1987), pp. 141, 154. repr.

Exhibition History

National Sailors' Fair, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, 01/01/1864 - 12/31/1864

Pre-Modern Art of Vienna, 1848-1898, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York, 05/12/1987 - 07/11/1987; Blum Art Institute, New York, 07/20/1987 - 09/18/1987; DePree Art Center and Gallery, Holland, 10/02/1987 - 11/29/1987; Bass Museum, Miami Beach, 12/15/1987 - 01/31/1988

Sublimations: Art and Sensuality in the 19th Century, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/13/1996 - 07/21/2002

32Q: 2130 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu